Tag Archives: quiet spaces
This week I came across this in my Facebook feed: Stop the glorification of busy. I don’t know where or who it came from — it’s one of those things that have spread virally. But the post that I saw came with a link to this NY Times column by Tim Kreider on the perils of perpetual busyness and the human person’s need for idle time. It resonated so much with me. I admittedly am naturally inclined toward indolence, and I don’t like it when I get too busy to do the things I like to do — like indulge in my hobbies, spend time with people I love, and especially, stare into space and do absolutely nothing. And a statement from the article put so succinctly why these do-nothing periods ought to be prized and protected:
“The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration…”
Idle time provides the necessary incubation period for random nebulous thoughts and experiences to fly around freely and ultimately come together in those breakthrough “Eureka!” moments that spur inventions, discoveries, and other movements that change the world. Kreider further wrote that ironically, we need idle time to get things done.
This week happens to be one for “idle” time — as in time of prayer and no work. It’s Passover week in Judaism, and in many Christian cultures, it’s Holy Week. Here in the Philippines, Holy Thursday and Good Friday are non-working holidays, and most commercial and leisure establishments are closed, and all other activity in the city seems rather muted. Well this could be because a lot of folks have fled to the beaches for the long weekend. But for many others, it’s time for spending time with family, doing visita iglesia, and/or retreating into reflection and prayer.
Midori posted some ideas some time ago on Carving Out Quiet Space, and it’s a great read. For today’s post I thought I’d share with you some more inspiration for your own quiet nook in which to spend your quiet time.
An enclosed space would be ideal, if only to minimize the outside world intruding into your sanctum. The image above is of the interior of the beautiful Tree of Life Chapel in Portugal. While it may not be practical or feasible to construct an entirely new building, the warm, welcoming wood and the graphic lines may be something that you want to apply to your room.
But you don’t need to occupy an entire room, a corner will do, as in this space which only includes a chair, a side table, and a few visual pieces.
It doesn’t even have to be a corner! This window sill does beautifully.
All that silence and nothingness can seem intimidating for the perennially busy. An element that facilitates some sort of activity that goes hand-in-hand with the introspection could be just the thing.
This here is a “prayer tree” which you can look at or stick with prayers and names of family members you want to pray for. Click on the image for more ideas like it.
Gardens make awesome prayer spaces. Nothing recharges and gets you in touch with your life than life itself springing forth from the earth.
Here’s a novel idea, at least for me — labyrinths. These are not meant to confuse or make one lost, but rather serve as paths for quiet walks. These walks are said to quiet the mind, restore balance and relieve stress. They can be indoors or outdoors, and as big or as small as space allows.
So here’s to some quiet alone time! May the concerns of work and chores not encroach on yours!
In the Philippines, Easter is something we build up to during the entire Lenten season with a gradually with increasing intensity, reaching a climax during the three days that precede it, called the Holy Week Triduum. They are declared holidays, so there’s no work, no school, and most establishments cease operations on these days. Local non-cable television channels even have special programming on these days. Traditionally these days are set aside for prayer and reflection. Though a lot of people spend this long weekend in the beach or fly off somewhere on vacation, quite a number still stay and take some time for quiet contemplation.
Today is Holy Thursday, also called Maundy Thursday, and one of the traditional practices is to go on Visita Iglesia (Spanish for “Church visit”), which entails spending Thursday evening going around and visiting different seven Churches, taking a few minutes to pray in each one. I’m not exactly sure why seven is the optimal number, but I have spent a whole lot of Holy Thursdays with my parents, and sometimes cousins and other relatives, doing this. I was surprised to find out that there are other countries that observe this practice too.
So for this post I thought I’d do a cyber version of Visita Iglesia, and drop by these seven churches from around the world. I picked these because they are all modern and fabulous and so different from the way I expect churches to look and yet they all exude that lofty, reverent, peaceful air that identify them as places of worship.
1. Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
Architect: Gines Rivera
2. Église Notre-Dame de Royan
Architect: Guillaume Gillet
3. Bruder Klaus Kapelle (Brother Klaus Chapel) – Wachendorf, Germany
Architect: Peter Zumthor
4. Dio Padre Misericordioso (Merciful God the Father)
a.k.a. The Jubilee Church – Rome, Italy
Architect: Richard Meier
5. Catedral Metropolitana Nossa Senhora Aparecida
(Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady Aparecida) - Brasilia, Brazil
Architect: Oscar Niemeyer
6. Christi Auferstehung (Church of The Resurrection of Christ) -
Architect: Gottfried Böhm – 1970
7. Chiesa del Santo Volto (Church of the Holy Face) – Torino, Italy
Architect: Mario Botta