The past weekend, overwrought with activities and “busyness,” the discontent crawled on my skin late Sunday evening. Distracted and irritated, the weight of saying yes to certain activities came at the cost of sacrificing solitude. Even though quiet is my refuge of choice, I realized that my execution of creating this space falls below my expectations.
One epiphany materialized: Intention is not enough.
As much as I relish quiet, my decisions need to collaborate with this goal. A litany of questions ensued in my mind, revolving on why I made conscious choices to sabotage the silence that is essential, like the inhale and exhale of my breath. Every choice creates a consequence.
I noticed the tone with my daughter, the edges of my voice sounding like nails on the chalkboard. When I conversed with a friend, complaints started hurling forward about nothing in particular – the act of expressing my dissatisfaction seemed so trivial in retrospect. My body felt the revolt too. Tight shoulders, anxiety itching in my middle, my head started to pound. By Sunday evening, with irritation mounting, I sat in my office for a few minutes, letting the quiet form a bubble around me, silencing my phone, computer and other distractions. I tried to replenish what I missed over the last few days.
For the next few hours, I honored what meant the most to me. I wrote for an hour, read passages of Mary Oliver poetry, played a silly game with my daughter, conversed with my husband and made dinner. The lull of the routine lessened the tension, my outlook brightening because my time became mine again.
On Monday, the reset button engaged, I intersected with a white flower on my morning run. The purity and clarity of its petals, the green lines outlining the invisible, resonated on a gut level. The words, “intention is not enough” appeared again like a neon sign flashing in my head. My course is my own, but I need to claim what I know I need.
The problem becomes trying to find that place of quiet amidst all the noise. My world includes responsibilities, spanning from my obligations as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and sometimes those relationships come before my need for solitude. I am not certain if I’ve come to any conclusions as to how to build that time in the context of what I need to do versus what I want to do. That, I’ve accepted, is a process.
This weekend did teach me that intention, if there is no execution, stays as a word. There is no follow-through, no visible progress, intention without execution becomes another would, could, should and these words are the ones that dissolve into a life of regret. Yesterday, the mother of all reminders intersected in my path. As I pulled out of my driveway to the main road, a white hearse pulled alongside of my car, our vehicles instantly becoming friends. I felt goosebumps forming on my skin and some may dismiss this incidence as a coincidence, but I tend to believe the whispers of the world. It materialized into acknowledging that intentions can disappear into the ether, but the real meaning lies in taking hold of time and working toward carving out how you want to spend it.
* This entry is a result of a year-long excavation of my word of the year, quiet.