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Filling the tank with quiet

I had to pause and take a step backwards when I heard myself shouting at my kids. There’s a constant mess in our home, and we’re having to pick up stuff after them all the time. Some might say that’s normal. It wasn’t the mess – it was my reaction. I realised my “tank” was empty. We’d moved country. We’d flatted our finances. And amidst all that stressful drain, I hadn’t been topping up.

So I suppose the most pertinent question I am facing in these October weeks of 2022, is who and/or what is filling my tank?

I revisit this question once a year around about the same time. So humour me as I allow this stream of consciousness…

It’s easy to forget simple disciplines, like sleep. It’s not that I forget to sleep, it’s that I don’t sleep enough.

I have a fancy watch which tells me all sorts of things about what is going on in my body, and one of the things it tells me is that my nightly recharge is currently “very poor”. There are legitimate reasons for this of course. I go to bed too late, because my family goes to bed too late, because there’s just a lot to be done at the end of the day in 2022.

The bottom line, however, is that I have not slept enough. So that needs to change.

Making your bed in the morning is another basic discipline. You’ve probably seen the “Admiral” YouTube clip about it, but it kind of sums up some important life lessons in one small activity.

“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed… and if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made. That you made! And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

But neither sleep nor making my bed necessarily fills my tank. They certainly help, but they don’t quite reach the deeper corners at the bottom of this tank.

In a personality profile, I was once labelled a “Strategic Ideator”. That’s a fancy term for saying I like ideas, and I get bored and depressed if there aren’t new ones on the horizon for me.

But even a bunch of exciting ideas – like a triathlon or a creative project, for example – aren’t always enough to fill my tank.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that what’s needed is regular quiet moments. I need them. We need them. Moments where you allow your soul to catch up with your body, and you make space for a little bit of time with your brain. No phone, no interruptions, no noisy surroundings… Just quiet moments. Moments where I can read (scripture or something interesting), noodle on the guitar and reflect on life behind me, life around me, and life in front of me.

So I’m carving out some moments. I’ll check in again next week to let you know how it’s going.

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