“Live out loud!” is a popular saying thrown around like verbal confetti. But what exactly does it mean? According to pop culture, it means living your life with sass, spice, and flare. Urban dictionary elaborates further to include living genuinely, open, and trustworthy. Put simply, ‘Live out loud’ is the practice of being yourself, regardless of others’ opinions.
Have you noticed the loud are getting louder? Perhaps the goal is to see who can live out louder? On the other hand, the quiet, though not without opinion, are noticeably still.
According to the Clifton Strength Assessment, one of my top five strengths is Achiever. I truly enjoy working and being productive. The unwelcome byproduct is occasional difficulty silencing my mind and practicing stillness.
Stillness is defined as, “The quality or state of being still; quietness; silence; calmness; inactivity. Habitual silence or quiet; taciturnity.“
Through the years I’ve learned, but certainly haven’t mastered. . . there’s a time to speak, and a time to be still. Some say being still is the most productive thing a person can do. In this day of social media, information overload, and talking heads, it can be most challenging.
I’m reminded of the phrase, “Still waters run deep.“
My desire is to be a person of depth, aspiring for more than what meets the eye. The quality of your outer life is a reflection of your inner life. It’s not about living in an ashram. It’s about finding a place of inner calm, that cannot be derailed under chaotic circumstances.
Learning to quiet your mind can be achieved through prioritizing its practice. I start every morning on my porch, coffee in hand. Going outdoors helps me unplug from visual representations of busyness and the never-ending to-do list. The table that needs dusting, my laptop and phone, all scream for my attention. This time is set aside exclusively for me. I drink more than my coffee. My eyes drink in the morning sky, teasing with its vibrant hues. The sounds of the waking world incite my mind to the possibilities this day may hold. I move into a place of gratitude, thanking God for my abundant blessings. And, I end with a devotion, and a time of prayer.
I started this practice when my children were mere babes. At that time, I lived in survival mode, yearning for five minutes of solitude in between diapers and dolls. I found I was a better mom, and a better person, when I scheduled time for stillness. In fact, I felt a void and off-kilter, if I’d not prioritized my time on the porch.
As days turned to years, I maintained this morning ritual with me, my coffee, and my God as the only participants. It is a non-negotiable necessity that fortifies my ability to walk resolutely in my purpose.
Do you feel the whirlwind of chaos spiraling around you like a cyclone?
Recapture the hope that lies in the beauty of stillness; hope that supersedes the superficiality on your newsfeed and the disreputable antics of politics.
Finding yourself in moments of stillness is the greatest way to distance yourself from the noise, and raise your ability to live out loud.
**Special thanks to Marjorie Maxon Photography for providing the photos!