January is a long exhale following the heart-thumping, soul-singing, foot-stomping, gift-opening, feast-devouring of November and December.

I love the blank page, that new calendar, a fresh start.

Recently, I woke to an unscheduled day – truly such a rarity it nearly scared me. I, who adore silence and long stretches of unbroken quiet, was a bit rattled when even the one thing that was to define the day – a worker coming for a house project – was cancelled. I hadn’t yet uncovered my pre-holiday to-do list and, while I always have creative projects waiting in the wings, I felt a little funny without a pressing deadline.

Silence roared in my ears.

Serendipitously, as I exercised in the frigid January pre-dawn (not outside that day!), I watched a TED talk by Pico Iyer, “The Art of Stillness.” As a travel journalist, Iyer has lived many adventures, yet he posits that the greatest adventure may lie in stillness and silence.

It was a profound thought at the beginning of a new year, untrodden fields of possibility beckoning trails unblazed. There is so much to do, to learn, so many opportunities to grab. There are responsibilities, intrinsic and external; ambitions, innate and otherly; duties, crushing and liberating.

What would be gained by being still?

What might unfurl, unbidden and startling, in the fertile terrain of isolation?
What healing might lie in capitulation?
What freedom might be birthed in tranquility?

Peace on earth?
Goodwill to us?


Reprinted with permission from College View Church’s eWeekend
Ann Halim, author and editor