by Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew
As I write this, it has been twenty seven hours of being disconnected from my phones, laptop, iPad, television, and people to some degree. I decided to spend a week-end at a monastery to get quite and hear the small inner voice that has been craving to share insights and lessons. I’ve been so busy working, helping others and raising my child that I found myself becoming overwhelmed and out of touch with me.
Yesterday at 4:30 pm, I was in my room only coming out to eat in the lunchroom and walking the grounds becoming one with nature. My conversations have been few. I’ve talked briefly with the Friars and staff as well as called family to tell them I was fine. I didn’t think I could do this. There is no buzz of television in the background…No one asking for my help…No phone calls since the phone was locked in my car. This retreat was designed to remove me from those distractions that often keep me tired, disconnected from self and being truly authentic because I am playing to the tune of someone else’s desire.
Silence and being alone is hard for most of us. We create jails for ourselves to dull the pain or avoid what we must do. Our jails are comprised of being in captivity to activity. We are so busy doing good that we haven’t mastered the art of being.
I wear many titles—some I’m proud of and others I shoved into the back of mental crevasses hoping they would never come out. These titles sometimes are even self-imposed from past tapes I’ve played over and over in my head as a result of negative experiences. One of my jail cells is this—I have been held captive to thinking that no longer serves me. It was designed to help me as a child, to protect me and now it keeps me caged—not experiencing life in its fullness and abundance.
As much as I’ve accomplished you would think I didn’t struggle with fear and even anxiety. I’ve been afraid of losing it all because as a child my house caught fire and we lost it all. Since that time, my mental tape drives me to doing more and more so I never lose out. As long as I have options, I can never find myself homeless again.
Yet, I am homeless in another way. I have become a stranger in myself. Too busy to listen to my body crying for help—for better food, for more exercise, for more quiet, for more time. This retreat has allowed me to look into my cell and finally take hold of the keys that have always been there to free myself.
1. Reflection is critical. So often the answers we need are right in front of us. They desire to be heard but without time to process, we cannot see and heed to the warnings that can guide our decisions.
2. Listen. When we are too busy to reflect, we are often too busy to listen. Turn off, disconnect from the world and take time to bask in nature to hear the cravings of your soul. We often douse them with more stuff and wonder why our results are not what we desired. The answers are there when we make ourselves available to listen.
3. Be grateful. It is so easy to complain about what’s wrong but there is so much that is right in our lives. Use quiet time to think over the blessings you have. It can always be worse. Getting quiet gives us the opportunity to truly see how much have and even what we can give.
Through this process, I realized my strength. I’ve endured so much and I have so much to be thankful for. Without the gift of silence, I could have easily remained imprisoned, never finding that I held to my freedom. I look forward to talking more women and men through this process of discovery and freedom!