Being :: Making Time for Quiet Reconnection

September 20, 2012

Being: Conscious, mortal existence; life.

Every month we welcome two families, two people, two voices to share their stories in whatever way they chose. We hope that you find joy in their daily lives, and their simple habit of just being.

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It’s only when we have quiet time, going for a walk, getting some exercise, or taking a shower, that our conscious minds quiet down enough for our subconscious to be heard. And that’s why you get ideas in the shower. — Scott Berkun

We need those times when our brain goes off-line and our thoughts drift free. Whether it’s in the shower or driving in the car or walking the dog, we need those quiet times with no input: no podcast, no conversation, no radio chatter, just meditative floating.

It’s those times when we quietly reconnect with our thoughts and feelings. That’s when our ideas are born.

Those ideas are always inside us. They just wait for the quiet moments when everything else finally withdraws and our attention can turn inward.

Likewise, we need to make time for quiet reconnection with our children.

It always seems like kids open up best when you’re doing something fairly innocuous together, like riding in the car or walking the dog. Why is that?

Because the pressure is off. For a moment, there’s nothing else you can do, so that constant low-level anxiety about what you should be doing, what you could be doing fades away. There is only this moment, and the current is moving slow. You have time to drift to the next stop where life will get busy and noisy again.

“There’s a crack in everything,” says Leonard Cohen. “That’s how the light gets in.”

In those quiet moments, you aren’t sitting face to face, confronting each other. You’re riding or walking together, facing in the same direction. You aren’t focused on each other, one wanting something from the other. You’re focused on the simple task at hand. You can relax and let things surface: little things, big ideas, quiet revelations.

It’s easier to shyly share a truth when you’re both looking at the road or the dog.

We are bonded to our children from birth, but we still benefit from regular, quiet reconnection. We need to build those possibilities into our schedule — those times when we are just together, doing some small and mundane task in pleasant companionship. No great expectations, no demands. Just doing something simple, together, that needs to be done.

Maybe the rest of the day or week wasn’t so great; maybe we had some rough moments. Maybe sharp words were spoken. Sharing a simple ritual can help us reboot the day, the week. It can reestablish our connection.

People talk about disconnecting and they mean pulling the plug out of the wall, setting aside the iPhone and the laptop, turning off the TV.

But really, disconnecting requires more than that. You have the pull the plug on the constant pinging of everyday life, the harried schedule, the preoccupied rushing around, the small frets and concerns that worry us about the ankles like a terrier.

To really disconnect, you have to make a space in the day that’s almost completely empty. You just need one quiet activity that doesn’t require much thinking, just one simple task that gives you something to focus on so your brain can relax and go off-line, so your eyes can stop and rest on the face of one you love most.

Sea otters hold hands while they are sleeping so they don’t drift apart in the ocean, in the dark. Zoologists say it’s not so much affection that brings them together but social connection.

We need that connection. We need those quiet times when we go off-line, literally and figuratively, and just drift for a moment, holding hands.

We are so happy to welcome Lori Pickert as a guest to our Being series this month.  Lori is an educator, writer, and mother of two, as well as the author of Project-Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self-Directed Learners.  Lori’s popular blog has become a go-to resource for many, many families interested in finding ways to encourage their children to become passionate and creative thinkers.  

GIVEAWAY: Want the chance to win a brand new Apple iPad? The Rhythm of the Home blog is one of the five hand-picked blogs hosting the details of The Golden Ticket Giveaway from the new Ultimate Guide to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory enhanced ebook for kids. The details of this Rafflecopter giveaway can be found here and we encourage everyone to enter to win before September 23rd!

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Rhythm of the Home is an online magazine for families that focuses on creating with children, nature explorations, seasonal celebrations, conscious parenting, and mindfulness in all that we do.   To learn more about us, please visit us on Facebook,Pinterest, and Twitter.

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{ 10 comments }

KC September 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I have a high needs introver toddler. Sounds like a mouth full and it it. We take lots of quiet disconnected breaks through out the day to help her stay balanced. It’s most often when we take walks or sit down on her bed to read that we are really able to talk. Lovely article!

EllenS September 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm

I get why parents are excited when a teen is old enough to drive themselves to activities… But it makes me sad. As the mom of three boys (men), I would always get them in the car if something was ‘off’. We could ‘talk or not talk’ as needed. Same small space without the face-to-face. (Or a captive audience.)

Jen September 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm

This seems to be a common thread in so many places lately. The need for unplugging and more connection with those we love. I love how Lori says it’s more then just unplugging from the internet/iphone/computer but also everything else that pulls you from being totally in the moment. My little one is growing so fast & I need to take her lead and slow down and just BE in the moment. Beautiful article for another reminder to me!

Meryl September 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm

And this is why I will rock my kid to sleep until he’s 10 if he’ll let me. I love that half an hour (Ok, sometimes longer!) of jibber-jabber and silly songs as he dozes off. It’s our version of the otters holding hands.

Sarah September 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm

This is so so true. We’re trying so hard to carve out time to just be together. Sadly, for me it needs to not be at home because at home I can’t see past what needs to be done. It’s a problem I have. So, I treasure travel time, errand running with just one kid, dog walking, etc. Anything that keeps me from seeing the dust bunnies and the messes instead of seeing my family. I think I’m going to print this out and put it on the wall. Thank you.

mamacrow September 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm

oh this is so true! Car time I find to be so useful – so many interesting/useful/difficult conversations happen in the car.. Because it’s dead time, you can’t avoid it if you’re ferrying people around to places & so ideas or things they’ve been mulling over and wondering about seem to bubble up..

We do talk round the table at dinner too, but the car is more of a captive audience, people can’t wander off or be distracted by the phone or the doorbell etc.

Plus the alongside thing – both looking at something else, or both doing something like the washing up for example – this is particularly helpful for talking with teenagers (particularly boys apparently). And again, in the car, you’re both looking ahead – much easier to talk about difficult things!

Alex September 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm

We have the best conversations when we are out in nature, going for a walk. We are all calm and enjoying the fresh air and nature around us, conversations start and hearts open. I love those moments !

sarah September 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

The kids and I have our best conversations in the car. And I love taking rides with my husband, even if it’s just an errand. I call them car dates.

Lori September 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm

thanks for the great comments, you guys! as i said on twitter, my weekly scheduled reconnection times are daily dog walks with my younger son and a long drive through the country to pick up pizza once a week with my teen. :)

Elizabeth Fern. September 20, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Sigh. I just came over from facebook following the lure to see two otters holding hands. :-) . Finding beautiful words from Lori is the icing on the cake. Now I know why, I’ll drop all of my plans to get some stuff done while my husband takes the kids to go with them. I love drives with my soulmate. This post strengthens my resolve to pencil in some time with the kids. Oh, and the otters are ADORABLE!!

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