Stillness in the Middle of May

Stillness in the Middle of May May 18, 2023

Stillness in the Middle of May

Stillness in the Middle of May

There are a few more weeks of spring left before summer. The sun is not yet up on this morning in the middle of May.

I get up slowly, reluctant to greet this May morning. Fumbling in the dark, I avoid significant injury and begin to follow my morning routines. After completing a few tasks I sit down and listen to sacred stillness.

We may be regularly following a practice of listening to sacred stillness, or not listened a single morning this month. Our record, our performance does not matter.

This is a morning in the middle of May, a new opportunity to listen to sacred stillness this month. We will soon be running out of May mornings when we can listen to sacred stillness.

Some of us are too tired because we have stayed up late last nighty. Others of us have tossed and turned all night, missing another night’s rest.

Whether we have been up all night remembering with friends, or worrying, or reading, our opportunity for sleep has passed. Now is our time to get up and listen to the sacred stillness all around us and within us.

There are only a few more May mornings for us this year. Soon it will be June and, before we know it, July and August. The summer will fly through our lives and it will be autumn, or winter.

We need to listen whether this is our first morning or the latest in a long string.

It is time for us to pay attention to the mourning dove’s invitation and practice listening to sacred stillness. Today is our latest opportunity to listen to the stillness of a morning in the middle of May.

Listening on a Morning in May

The sun dawns a little earlier each morning of each spring day. Spring brings a little more light and a little more warmth each day.

We want to fold up winter and put it away for a few months.

As we practice opening our eyes we realize each morning is more than a list of things to do. A cup of tea helps us remember and hope on this newest morning in the middle of May.

Each morning reminds us it holds more than we expect.

It can be easy for us to miss how spring turns the world around us brighter and warmer each morning. Some of us are exhausted by the challenges we are already experiencing.

Winter may have taken so much out of us we are not certain we can handle spring, or impending summer. We may have been burned by hope in the past and prefer to live without it.

When we are ready to listen we sit for a few minutes and appreciate the stillness and hope of the next morning in May.

Drinking our tea we slowly open ourselves to the spring morning around us.

We sit still, close our eyes and open our hearts. Taking deep breaths, we calm ourselves so we can listen.

Sitting still, we begin to recognize the sacred stillness around us and within us. Our breathing helps us pay attention to the stillness from which we are so often distracted.

Some of us are not comfortable listening to sacred stillness. We feel we are wasting our time, we do know know what we are doing, we are being foolish to spend time doing this.

As we practice listening the morning stillness begins to gently welcome us.

Listening to sacred stillness is a way for us to practice praying beyond words and feelings and thoughts.

Stillness on a Morning in May

As we become more comfortable listening we recognize the sacred stillness within us and all around us.

Many of us have not practiced listening to stillness before. We allow ourselves to be distracted and fill our lives with background music and voices and other noise.

As we develop a practice of listening we begin to realize how welcoming and how comforting stillness can be. We do not need to come up with reasons or arguments or excuses when we listen to sacred stillness. The sacred stillness around us and within us embraces us, holding us close.

We are not responsible to understand or explain or analyze stillness. Sacred stillness enfolds us in its loving presence as we take time to practice listening.

The sacred stillness on a morning in the middle of May strengthens us and gives us rest, no matter how we spent Memorial Day.

Sitting still with our eyes closed, breathing deeply, we allow sacred stillness to lift and carry us. The difficulties and distractions of our anxieties fall away as we listen to stillness.

Stillness on the final morning of May cleanses us and prepares us for everyday life.

Breathing on a Morning in the Middle of May

Some people ask me for practical help in developing a practice of listening to sacred stillness. They would like suggestions for becoming more comfortable as they practice listening and overcoming challenges.

I do not have a checklist of things to do or ways to get comfortable listening to sacred stillness. Most of the difficulties people have as they begin resolve themselves as they gain experience listening.

One thing people can do to help themselves become more comfortable listening to sacred stillness is pay attention to their breathing. When people feel nervous or uncomfortable they tend to breathe more shallowly. People often find themselves getting more comfortable when they remember to breathe deeply.

Many people find their breathing to be a helpful way for them to deal with distractions. When we find ourselves distracted by our minds, thinking or analyzing rather than listening, we can remember to breathe deeply.

As we breathe deeply we remind ourselves we are listening to sacred stillness, not being distracted by our thoughts.

How will we listen to sacred stillness on this morning in the middle of May?

When will we practice listening to sacred stillness this morning in the middle of May?

[Image by Lee Cannon]

Greg Richardson is a spiritual director in Southern California. He is a recovering assistant district attorney and associate university professor, and is a lay Oblate with New Camaldoli Hermitage near Big Sur, California. Greg’s email address is

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