The Tranquility Toolbox – Tranquil Thursday #6

A black and white photo of a solitary boat on a lake

Life moves along at varied paces. I can remember very peaceful times and I can remember very tranquil times. I can remember times of great joy and I can remember times of immense sadness.

We do not always get to choose the road on which we must travel. But along the way we can create rest stops. Places to fill up the tank, places to simply sit and take a breath.

How we deal with chaos is our choice. It is not always an easy choice, but ultimately our responses are up to us, with a few exceptions course. We can choose a hot bath or a long walk. We may opt for a cup of tea or a shot of whiskey. Maybe a handful of cookies or an hour in a warm bath is more your style. Sometimes a chat with an understanding friend is all you need, while someone else may want to lose themselves in a good book.

  1. Can you recall a particularly chaotic or stressful time in your life? How did you manage the stress?
  2. Where is the one place in the world where all your troubles disappear – even if only for a moment?
  3. Do you like for other people to try and raise your spirits or do you prefer to deal with things on your own?
  4. What quote, song, book, or movie serves as an inspiration to you when things get tough?
  5. Does solitude quiet your mind or do you need to pump up the volume?

My answers follow below

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I can remember many chaotic and stressful times in my life. How I dealt with them truly depended a lot on my age. I was 19 when my mother died and already in the Air Force. Of course I had leave and went home, but returning and leaving my family behind was so hard. I remember many a night sitting outside on a blanket with friends drinking cheap wine to excess. Fast forward a gazillion years when my marriage fell apart. The first thing I did was pour every ounce of alcohol in the house down the drain. And yet, there have been times I prayed myself to sleep.

The Appalachian mountains have always been my solace. I feel the presence of my ancestors and looking out over God’s creation makes me realize how miraculous life can be. We can all use a miracle or two, don’t you think?

As far as people, I welcome the company of those close to me. Those who are content to sit with me in silence if that is what is required. I do not handle insincerity well and would rather sit in solitude than be with someone who is insincere. I prefer “I don’t know what to say” to endless idle chatter.

We would be here all day listing the books and quotes and songs that lift me up. “How Great Thou Art” is one. This verse from Maya Angelou another.

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou

I pump up the volume when I need a mood shift. I love music I can sing along with. The louder the better. If I am feeling loss or sadness, I need some time to be alone, but not too much. I need to know there is someone out there that loves me enough to hold me up when I feel like the earth is crumbling beneath my feet.