The Sound of Silence: How you can pursue greatness in the still morning

The view from my favorite chair in the den this morning as I listen for purpose in the silence.

Great strength can be found in the quiet moments before the day starts. The time where no cat mews and the night's dew rests quietly upon the ground. Before the tyranny of the noise and the barrage of notifications and matters of nonimportance glare at you with self important demands.

Hearing your purpose in the silence…

Yet, through the quiet, I can hear the whisper of the true priorities of this day speak to my heart and mind and settle my spirit. To demand that those among us who don't get the mornings and don't like them become morning people is silly. But I would be remiss if I didn't at least point out that much time and peace awaits you if you'll set that alarm earlier and get up before anyone else stirs. The younger your children are, the more you need this time alone. The more you work with kids, the more you need this time alone.

For, to me, truly, this time isn't time spent alone. It is time spent with my Maker and myself – two essential people with which I must get along for this life to amount to much besides the reorganization of dust.

Light your fire before the darkness comes…

I cannot depend upon the completion of an ever growing task list to determine if I'm a woman of worth. The compliments of fellow human beings are not enough kindling to start and keep the fire in my heart going.

No, my fire must be lit with a purpose that is struck deep within my soul as my calling combusts with the oxygen of a heart still enough to hold onto a vision that transcends the menial scratchings upon my planner pages.

That is a fancy way to say that we can lose our vision of the forest as we wander among the trees and yet, for a teacher and a Mom – the dark forest is indeed very dark and very engulfing.

Seeing the view high above the trees…

The bigger trail can only be seen as I jump in the balloon of perspective in the early morning and look down upon the meanderings of life from far above. There, I'm able to refocus and see the bigger purpose in the trek I must walk that day.

I'm able to have quiet conversations with Upper Management about the bats that flit around my mind to frighten me into a retreat from tasks worth doing.

I'm able to see that I am a person of worth with a purpose despite the fact that the world and the burdens I carry often make me feel like the unappreciated pack mule at the rear who keeps being tossed yet another trinket to carry on the journey as proud horses toss their manes at the front of the entourage and eat from feedbags full of golden grain and honey.

The questions common to all humankind are often best asked in the quiet…

You don't have to be a teacher or parent to identify with the ponderings of purpose. These are things common to the human race. Questions of self worth and the ability to bear up under the load are questions common to us all. Yet, many of us bear burdens we were not meant to carry and look for meaning to be reflected in broken mirrors.

When is the last time you've listened to silence? The still ringing of hearing nothing but the turn of the page, the click of the keyboard, or the quiet muffled sound of a car driving past your house?

Silence and the pursuit of quiet time alone has been one of the most defining practices of my life and this morning as I listened to the silence, I heard, in the quiet, the thought that perhaps there are others of you wishing to serve who are pouring from pitchers of water about to run dry lest you take a minute to dip more water from the well.

This time is something you must create for yourself but my own time spent praying, reading, and journaling is the most important time of my own day. When I started doing this around age 27, it made a profound difference in my life and still does.

Quiet time each morning doesn't make me perfect, it makes me purposeful and intentional about living a life that is too short to do everything. It helps me choose.

Make an appointment now…

I'm hoping that all of you make an appointment with yourself today, tomorrow, and the next to truly hear the sound of silence.

For in such sounds, you may just hear the tinkling of your calling and find your purpose and passion yet again amidst the tyranny of a noisy, distracting world that won't leave you alone to catch your breath.


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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Leah November 16, 2013 - 2:45 pm

I love this post. Thank you for this post. I am an extremely loud, rambunctious, energetic human being who can’t sit still for more than 4.5 seconds before I start running around to dance or hug people or do whatever it is that I do when I am in a constant state of movement. However, there are so many times that everything just settles and I can bask in the silence and lack of movement of myself and the earth. I love waking up early, and would choose to go to bed at 8:30 or 9 every night if I could and still accomplish my “work.” I think it is SO important to take time for oneself and truly appreciate that time. It is so hard for me to set aside the impending workload that seems it’s about to avalanche over and me and my life in order to sit and think and write in silence, but when I do, it’s magical.

My favorite time of year are my early winter mornings, spent walking to the on-campus Starbucks to get there right when it opens. As you can imagine, not many students are awake at 5:30 and walking around campus. The snow is falling or settled, but the city sparkles in white and the lawns are fresh clean slates without the spat of dirt or tread marks on them. This is the most magical time to me.

Thank you for reminding me how much I love this time of year, and how important it is for me to create this experience for myself no matter what season it is.

Leah November 16, 2013 - 3:14 pm

PS: I wrote about you in my blog if you want to check it out :)

coolcatteacher November 16, 2013 - 4:04 pm

Wow, Leah – I can feel the experience. Getting up early – while not for everyone – is often the mark of someone committed to excellence as we can get busy before everything starts.

Sent from Mailbox for iPad

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