Some quotes from the Henri Nouwen chapter "Bringing Solitude into Our Lives", in "Devotional Classics":
A spiritual life requires human effort. The forces that keep pulling us back into a worry filled life are far from easy to overcome.... A spiritual life without discipline is impossible. The practice of a spiritual discipline makes us more sensitive to the small, gentle voice of God. ... Through the practice of a spiritual discipline we become attentive to that small voice and willing to respond when we hear it...
we are usually surrounded by so much outer noise that it is hard to truly hear our God when he is speaking to us... When, however, we learn to listen, our lives become obedient lives. The word obedient comes from the latin audire, which means "listening."
Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. Solitude begins with a time and place for God, and him alone.
To bring some solitude into our lives is one of the most necessary but also most difficult disciplines... As soon as we are alone, without people to talk with, books to read, TV to watch, or phone calls to make, an inner chaos opens up in us... when we have removed our outer distractions, we often find that our inner distractions manifest themselves to us in full force.
Once we have committed ourselves to spending time in solitude, we develop an attentiveness to God's voice in us... Time in solitude may at first seem little more than a time in which we are bombarded by thousands of thoughts and feelings that emerge from hidden areas of our minds... at first, the many distractions keep presenting themselves. Later, as they receive less and less attention, they slowly withdraw.
As we empty ourselves of our many worries, we come to know not only with our mind but also with our heart that we were never really alone, that God's Spirit was with us all along.
Today after reading this was attempt number two. A bit different as today I have the day off from work, and aside from an appt with my trainer at 4:30, and our end of the year music ministry dinner at 7, I've the whole day to myself. Plus my brother is out of town till tonite, so also the whole apartment to myself. And of course a million things I want to do...
And typing on my new laptop is SO cool.
Attempted 15 minutes this am, at quarter to so that the clock bird would chirp at the hour to let me know the 15 minutes was up. Was fairly quiet, except for the birds, one train, and someone mowing the lawn a couple blocks away.
15 minutes is a long time. Tried my best to not look up at the clock but wait for the bird. I see what Henri Nouwen means about being "bombarded by thoughts." What am I going to have for breakfast/brunch/lunch. What am I going to wear to the gym, and what am I going to wear to the dinner tonite? The next scene in the SG1 fic I'm working on during ficfrenzy on LJ. What books I want to buy on amazon, b/c I have another GC burning a whole in my fingers. Tho I give myself credit that it was books from the list in the back of the above book I was thinking of, never mind the stack of nice meaty fantasy novels on my to read pile, which then lead to Will I drive or take the train tonite, and if I take the train, which book will I take to read? and is it 15 minutes yet?
Baby steps, I guess!