Monday, February 6, 2012

Finding the Quiet Center by Vicki Doudera


Yesterday I’d planned to walk down the hill to church, but at the last minute I started re-thinking my decision.

There are so many clients I need to contact, I reasoned, plus two websites that need updating, long-overdue Facebooking, Tweeting, and blogging commitments, housework, and, oh yeah, the biggest “have to” of all, my 300+ page manuscript needing another revision and due in just a few short weeks.

There’s no way I can spare the time to sit quietly for an hour or so, I figured. What about fitting in some exercise? Making something for the Superbowl party? But then I thought about the times I do change my plans at the last minute and how usually I’m annoyed at myself later. So down the hill I went.

Come and find the quiet center in the crowded life we lead, find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed. Clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes that we can see, all the things that really matter, be at peace and simply be.

Those words were the first verse of the opening hymn, Come and Find the Quiet Center, written by Shirley Murray in 1989. Our new music director prefers using the Steinway piano to the organ, and for me, this makes the music more approachable and meaningful. We stood and sang, and of course my eyes teared up instantly at the powerful message of the simple words. “Be at peace and simply be.” I found myself wondering whether this crazy Gemini knows how to do that anymore.


Even when I undertake solo endeavors such as hiking (there is a great trail walking distance from our house in the Camden Hills State Park – that’s the view pictured above) I’ve generally got my mind whirring away. Car trips to show property down on “the peninsulas” aren’t quiet times for reflection, they are opportunities for me to figure out Darby’s next move. (I used to make endless phone calls, but I gave that up at New Year’s.)  I’m sure it’s the same with you. You’re plotting out a troublesome scene, making that “to do” list a little longer, or wondering how you can write the next best seller.

Is it important to clear the chaos and the clutter? If so, how do you do it? Does it make you more productive when you do? (Oops – wrong question! But see, I can’t quite fathom the “simply be” part yet!)

I would love to hear how you find the quiet center. In the meantime, shalom to you, my writing friends!

Top producing Realtor Vicki Doudera uses high-stakes, luxury real estate as the setting for a suspenseful mystery series starring crime-solving, deal-making agent Darby Farr. A broker with a busy coastal firm since 2003 and former Realtor of the Year, Vicki’s next mystery, DEADLY OFFER, takes Darby to a winery where murder, mayhem, and Merlot all mingle. As in the popular KILLER LISTING and A HOUSE TO DIE FOR, Darby discovers a dangerous truth: real estate means real trouble. Read more about the Darby Farr Mystery Series and Vicki at her website,


Robin Allen said...

A long time ago, I rearranged my life to be able to do what I want to do, so a quiet center is the rule for me, not the exception. Plus, I'm an introvert, so there's little danger of over-extending myself with time-hogging appointments. But sometimes I do feel out-of-sorts, which is when I knit. (Well, I knit all the time, but I specifically pick up my needles in difficult times.) I also pray. Constantly.

Shannon Baker said...

I love this message. I tend to pack "doing" into my days and forget to just be. Thanks for the reminder... from one Gemini to another!

Keith Raffel said...

Vicki, I know what you mean. A day off each week is not a bad thing. Here's what Abraham Joshua Heschel said: "Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth.... Six days a week we seek to dominate the world, on the seventh day we try to dominate the self."

Kathleen Ernst said...

Great post, Vicki. It's difficult to do in our hectic lives. I sometimes meditate, although I need to do it on a regular basis. My hour-long ai chi class (which I get to about once a month) is great for that too...

Vicki Doudera said...

Robin, I look forward to hearing more about your rearrangement at some point...I definitely need pointers! I'm a knitter, too, but it doesn't always calm me down.

Shannon... we twins have to stay frenetic together!

Keith, a return to the Sabbath wouldn't be such a bad thing, and as our world gets increasingly speedier, I think we'll see more folks tuning out and tuning in.

Kathleen -- what is ai chi? I wish I could meditate. Going to give it another go.

Thanks, all!

Donna OShaughnessy said...

We have a farm. We are never closed. We have to make quiet tiem and it takes effort but it gets easier as I am aging. Who else will do it for me? So now I make soap when I need to be at peace. All the smells of those essential oils, the art of mixing and pouring, better than Xanax.