Have you ever taken time in silence?

I just finished grading the first in a series of reflections for my students. The assignment was to spend three 30 minutes session in silence and solitude, then reflect on what they discovered about themselves during this “directed” reflection.

I asked my students to reflect on a few things:

The good things in their lives and to identify them by name; where they see themselves in 10 years; and what they are anxious about today and for their futures, and what they might do to release their anxiety.

As I read through their reflections, I found that many had never entered into deep reflection. During their assignment in stillness and solitude, they uncovered who and what they valued the most. They wrote about how much they value their families and how their families helped them develop their character. And they wrote about their friends who support them and their close friends who hold them accountable. I found they were grateful for the assignment.

As I wrote my comments on their reflections, I asked them to let these loved ones know much they mean to them. I hope they will.

One student remarked that because of how our brains are wired, when we focus on gratitude, we cannot focus on anxiety. Gratitude pushes away anxiety in our brain. It is a practice for all of us to undertake and one that religious mystics have understood for a millennium.

I’m thinking about how we all need this assignment. We all need to take time to reflect deeply. Therefore, I am giving this assignment to myself and to you. Sometimes a little push is all it takes.

Here’s the assignment: Put three 30-minute time slots on your calendar just as you would with any meeting or appointment. First session, reflect on the good things in your life and who helped you become who you are today. Second and third sessions, reflect on what causes you worry or anxiety and how might you release these worries to become the person you want to be. Then write about it. You do not have to turn in this assignment to anyone but yourself.

But, let me know how this works for you and how it might become a regular habit. We talk a lot about habituation in our ethics class, practicing our virtues so we become who we want to be.

Get started… you have the assignment.

Fly high,


Need help getting started? Drop me a line at captainbarbarabell.com and of course check out my book, Flight Lessons: Navigating Through Life’s Turbulence and Learning to Fly High.

#reflection, #womenveterans, #veterans, #coaching, #mentoring, #leadership

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash