April: Quiet, Rebirth, Reassessment: Reflection

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​I reassess how things are going at various times throughout the year. I think some of that attitude is due to therapy, the constant thinking on how I’m doing, how I’m feeling, what’s new, what’s stale, etc.

I usually start with Rosh Hashanah and look back again at New Year’s

Spring is another good time to reassess how things are going, personally, professionally, spiritually, whatever needs assessing. I’m constantly assessing and reassessing my prayer life (when, how, what’s working, what’s not), my family life (discipline, family time, housekeeping, vacation plans, if any), and my writing life (outlines, content, major changes). Those are probably the three biggest for me.

What in your life needs a reassessment?

Ask yourself these questions:

Is this still working for me?

If not, what is it that’s not working?

What changes will help me move forward?

What can I do to do/be better? (Sometimes, it’s simply a minor thing, like getting up half an hour earlier or even wearing a favorite scarf or pin.)

The sun is shining more, the winds have died down, and it’s a bit warmer out (not this year in the Northeast, but we can hope for the coming change). It’s a good time to make changes when we’re coming out of our winter shell.

What changes will you make this month?

April: Quiet, Rebirth, Reassessment

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​April.

Spring has sprung. For a day and then the snow comes again, dumping, flurrying, and then gone in a sweep of wind.

April showers bring May flowers, but I find that the showers come in March with the daffodils, April is mud season, and May is very purple and yellow, at least in my backyard.

April is quiet. The kids are still in school without the end of the year frenzy.

Birds are chirping, bunnies are burrowing, squirrels are fleeing, and mice are leaving garages and attics. The shutter is half falling off and the gate is bent; the driveway is oil-stained and the weeds are limp.

The tea is warm, though.

Reassess. Recharge. Re-emerge.

49/52 – December

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​December used to be cold and miserable. Snow and wind, sleet and hail. And as the climate changed so did December. I never worked on my birthday. From college on, no classes, no work. One birthday I went on a job interview and for a drug test. I almost got into a head on collision. That should have been a sign.

I usually take the day to myself, have a Starbucks breakfast, go shopping, stop by into Target and get one or two Christmas ornaments, a Moose, a Mary, something for someone, maybe even write.

This year, it’s Sunday, so I’ll stay home with the family, quietly, although…

Supermoon?

Mercury in retrograde? Is that good or bad?

Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s approaching quickly; too quickly.

But it’s still early in December, still time to enjoy the quiet before the last minute rush, before school recesses, holiday parties, last minute wrapping.

The quiet of the house is a reminder that quiet can be found throughout December. Light a candle, read a book, say a prayer. Have a cup of tea. Every day is an opportunity to slow down and look past the noise and see what’s really important.

Day two of Advent calls. Editing Nano calls. The kids call.

But I think I’ll light a candle and drink this tea.

And…slow…down.

Recs – Ambient Noise

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I was privileged to attend Evening Prayer with my friend, Fran who was offering the evening’s reflection. She wrote about it here.

In listening to her talk about Gordon Hempton, the acoustic ecologist, it reminded me of one of my favorite “quiet” spaces: lunch rush at the Cracker Barrel. I know it doesn’t sound much like a quiet space, but the background noise of conversations you can’t really understand the words of, clattering of forks on plates, glasses sliding on wet tabletops, the occasional laugh; is noisy to keep unnecessary things out of my head and keep the concentration in. I actually get my best writing done at these times.

Right then, about the second paragraph of her reflection, I knew what my Thursday Rec would be: those noisy/quiet spaces that help us center ourselves, whether we’re trying to write or think or pray our way, these are some of the places that have been recommended. I had most of these resources, but this Tumblr compiled a list for their readers. (Descriptions for 1 through 10 were done by the Tumblr user, belt. I’ve also added a couple more:

  1. Rainymood – Allows you to play rain, with suggestions of ambient music to play at the same time.
  2. Calm – A visually beautiful website. Provides moving backgrounds and an option for guided calm which allows you to immerse yourself in the music and to relax.
  3. Showertime – The experience of taking a shower without the water. Allows you to control features such as length of shower, size of room, water pressure, etc.
  4. Coffitivity – The background noise of a coffee shop. Allows you to choose between different locations such as lunchtime lounge, morning murmur etc.
  5. Soundrown – A website with a sleek minimalist design, allows you to choose between rain, coffee shop, ocean, fire, bird noises, or a combination of the five.
  6. Relaxing Snow – Visually beautiful falling snow, the website gives you the opinion to play music with the scenery, or to choose your own.
  7. Raining.Fm – This website gives you the ability to adjust the rain to exactly how you’d like it, with options to tweak thunder, rain and storm noises.
  8. Rain For Me – Simple rain effects with the option to download the audio files for offline listening.
  9. Snowy Mood – Inspired by Rainy Mood, this website really makes you feel like it’s winter.
  10. Rainy Cafe – Combines the sounds of a bustling cafe setting with the sounds of drizzling rain. Allows you to select the volume of each setting, or turn one off completely.

Others I’ve found:

  1. SoundTracker
  2. http://www.simplynoise.com/
  3. http://www.naturesoundplayer.com/
  4. http://www.calmsound.com/
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-qnBxzUv4g (thunderstorms)
  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJCpgVc-8n8 (waterfalls)
  7. http://mynoise.net/

Of these, I’ve used Coffitivity and the YouTube videos. I’ve also recorded my own sounds at Starbucks, Cracker Barrel and the Cohoes Falls.

Enjoy whatever level of quiet that you like.

Disclaimer: This is for informational purposes only. I do not know how any of these will affect your computer, so please research or use you anti-virus to check them out before downloading any of them.