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What do you do when your soul craves silence? There’s a small twitch in the pit of my stomach that is (almost) always telling me that life is too loud or too busy or just too much.

There’s a serious push in our culture for hustle- books, podcasts, blogs, social media posts- all giving us the one strategy we need to become our best self. Best, in this case, means our most productive and most efficient self. All this hustle pushes us farther away from our own self, the intuition, the still small voices within us. How on earth will we hear the voice of God, if we’re always listening to other voices? Are we really becoming our true self if the goal is always efficiency?

Summer has been guiding me away from the noise. Most mornings, I sit outside on our deck. I see our average backyard and our average neighborhood. Power lines, chipped paint, and toys laying around. Even if I stay for only a moment, I can also see the garden and hear the birds. I feel the sticky humidity on my skin.

In the evenings, after we’ve put my daughter to bed, I try to sneak outside again. Sometimes, I can hear neighborhood kids playing or dogs barking. If I sit long enough, I see the moon rise.

And in between, the struggle ensues between my to do list and practicing presence. My to do list will always be there, but my daughter has only one summer as a three year old. The world will not cease to spin if I leave dirty dishes in the sink because I chose instead to watch the fireflies. It might not be productive or efficient, but it is real life.

Here’s what else I’ve noticed this summer; the reverse is also true. At the end of the night, if I fall asleep watching TV instead of going outside to see the moon, the moon will still rise. The birds will sing in the morning, whether or not I am outside to hear them. Take a deep breath, the world does not rest on my, or your, shoulders. (thank God!)

Creation is an invitation, not an obligation. We get to choose our priorities and our passions and our moments of peace. We choose the voices we listen to and the events that fill our calendars. Some days we accept the invitation and other days it sits, unopened, in the pile of mail on the counter. But the invitation is always there.

Kelsey Hart is a friend of Celtic Way.

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