“Nothing distinguishes more clearly the disciples of Christ than a humble spirit and a simple way of life.”
Hesychios of Mount Sinai who lived in the eight or ninth century, from Volume 1 of the Philokalia.
Hesychios wrote this living in the desert of Mount Sinai. What would he say about the lives of people today?
How much of our day is taken up with busy work that does nothing more than keep pace with the rat race? How many texts, e-mails, and glances at Facebook are really meaningful?
There is a huge simplify movement afoot, zenhabits.net is one of my favorite websites to visit and is devoted to living the “simple life”. There are many others and the millions of people who visit them are a testimony to the backlash against the constant “business” and lack of stillness in modern life.
Simple does not mean less of a life. It means a deeper life. You can focus on your family, on your dreams and passions, you can focus on purpose, you can can focus on God. All are things that seem to get pushed to the back of the closet by the static of the modern world.
I’m sure there is a beautiful park near you. Go for a walk and take a silent minute to ask yourself what life would be like if you could discover the humility to simplify your life.
How much time do you spend alone, without noise, without technology? Take 5 minutes today and find a place of complete silence. Just listen. When was the last time you could just be?
Ask yourself, “do people see a humble spirit and simple life when they think about my life?”
Stillness is truly where we find God.
I’ve been getting some very heartfelt messages lately about my book, Who Am I?, from people whose lives have been changed and in some cases saved. I think it’s because I am open about my trials, the writing is graphic and brutally raw about the obstacles and demons I had to face overcoming severe PTSD, and yet ultimately, it proclaims hope. But it is not just a PTSD book. It is about finding your purpose in order to answer the question, Who Am I?.
Who Am I? is part reality, and part the insanity and nightmares that consumed me during that time. I created a character, Samuel, to be the one who takes the journey. He doesn’t just represent me, he represents anyone desperate to find meaning and purpose in their life. You will find something in Samuel that will hit you square in the heart and soul.
Overwhelmed by the feedback I’ve been receiving lately, I became determined to get this book in the hands of more people who need it. Enjoy this excerpt and remember, there is always hope.
An excerpt from Silouan Green’s – Who Am I? or how I learned to fly with angels. You can get a copy right now by clicking here.
Years later, Samuel sits in a Waffle House restaurant outside Wilford Hall Medical Center, San Antonio, Texas. It is 2:00 in the morning, and Samuel has not slept for over two weeks. Along with the sleepless nights, he has been undergoing physical therapy for his back in the morning followed by afternoon sessions with a psychiatrist for his insomnia and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Tired of staring at the tepid walls of his base officer quarters, he leaves to kill some time, read the paper, and incite his insomnia with a pot of coffee.
“What can I do for ya?” a tired-looking waitress drawls to Samuel. She’s been on shift for almost six hours and the Waffle House is empty save for her, Samuel, and the cook.
“Oh,” Samuel pauses as he looks up from his paper and scans the menu. “I’ll just have some coffee and half an order of biscuits and gravy.”
“Be right up.” The waitress forces a smile and then walks away.
Samuel picks his paper back up, and then it hits him.
TOOK A STORM
The words pulse in his head and won’t let up.
TOOK A STORM TOOK A STORM TOOK A STORM TOOK A STORM TOOK A STORM TOOK A STORM TOOK A STORM TOOK A STORM TOOK A STORM TOOK A STORM TOOK A STORM TOOK A STORM
“Here ya go, hon,” the waitress states as she sets down Samuel’s coffee. Before she can walk away, Samuel asks her a question.
“Do you have a pen I can borrow?”
“Well, sure, hon,” she answers agreeably. “What do ya need it for?”
“Oh nothin’,” Samuel shrugs. “Just need to write something down.”
“Here ya go.” She smiles again and hands Samuel the pen. He immediately grabs a napkin and begins to write, and the words flow.
TOOK A STORM
TO CRACK THE MORTAR
THE ANCIENT CLAY…
In less than five minutes he has written a poem for the first time in four years. For a moment, joy seeps through his body, and he is happy again. Then the feeling fades as he stares out the window into a black night. Familiar demons begin to heckle him, and, consumed with fear, his mind descends into a black hell of guilt, fear, and paranoia.
“Sir, sir, sir!” The waitress almost yells at Samuel.
“Huh?” Samuel looks up.
“Sorry to bother you, sir, but you’ve been sitting there for over half an hour, staring straight ahead.” She puts her hand on Samuel’s shoulder. “You haven’t touched your food or coffee.”
“Uh, oh, I’m sorry,” Samuel answers groggily. “Would you mind getting me another cup?”
“Sure,” she smiles.
Samuel’s head slumps to his hands. He is tired of suffering, and he only sees one answer.
“I’ll keep writing and try to make sense of it all,” he reassures himself.
That very night, back at the base, he finishes off another poem and sleeps for the first time in two weeks. It is not long, only a couple hours of fitful rest, but it is a welcome start.
Took a storm
To crack the mortar
The stone, the aged clay
The walls I’d built to shield myself
From rains I feared to face
Took a storm
To clear the rubble
The remnants of my home
To find the lost foundation
Poured before I dwelt alone
And the waters flow
I think I’ll swim”
Copyright © 2013 Everon LLC
Hope that was a good taste of Who Am I?! Get a copy for yourself or buy some to share with people you know that could use some inspiration and direction. You can buy it here right now, click.
I have received some heartbreaking messages lately and a few reminded me of my own darkness. I wrote the following poem when I was certain my life would end at the barrel of a gun pointed by myself. Faith seemed like a joke.
I didn’t realize it then, but the struggle to hold on meant I was strong, not weak. When we are looking into the abyss and find a way to hold on, we are actually one step closer to freedom, and finding faith.
If you are in a dark place, hold on. The answer is closer than you might think. In hindsight, these thin beams of life usually turn into the flames that allow us to live again.
Finding faith can seem like an impossible journey, and the steps we take to move forward can bury us deeper in the quicksand of doubt. It is often when we stop running and start kneeling, down on our knees to listen, that we finally find the answers.
Faith by Silouan Green
From the book, Who Am I?
A shadow dimly cast
Thin beam, a pale reflection
No trumpets sounded
No proclamation of truth
Holding on to the only thing I could
Because there was nothing else
When I speak, we take a journey.
Almost regardless of the event and the title of my talk, it will be a journey of identity and purpose. A journey whose path will include a cold, hard look in the mirror.
As we roll towards the end of the talk, the hammer begins to fall.
“Most people muddle through life and wake up one day going, how did I get here?” I state as if it was stamped into granite.
Faces around the audience will get a blank, nervous, “oh my God, he’s talking about me!” look on their face. But there is hope in these looks. Hope coming from the realization, “I have just been muddling, he is right, but I can find a real purpose, my life can matter.”
If that blank stare is etched on your face, what are you going to do about it? We spend so much time trying to fit in, to impress others, to lead what the world thinks is a good respectable life, we can forget what is was like to live a life of wonder. As you’ve aged, has your world gotten bigger or smaller? Have your possibilities increased or faded away? How did you get here?
Look closely at your life. Do you have an overwhelming purpose that motivates you and orders your life? Forget about priorities, what do you actually do from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed? You say your kids are important, but how much time do you actually spend in conversation with them? Are you more concerned about a 401k you’ll cash in twenty years or so from now than you are doing something rich and rewarding in the next 20 days? Living life based on society’s expectations as opposed to a deep identity and purpose usually just means you are muddling.
Still not convinced? Most fathers would say their children are very important to their lives. But according to a recent study the average father only spends about 19 minutes a day in meaningful conversation with his children. That average father spends more time on the toilet each day than he does in meaningful talks with his kids.
Don’t run, face the truth, and do something you love. Go on a hike. Buy a good bottle of wine and watch your favorite movie. Get cozy with your husband and bang his brains out. Take the day off and do everything for your wife she hates doing, then take her to her favorite restaurant. Step out, dream, do something that is a step forward.
There is nothing you can’t do if you’ll just be honest with yourself and take that first step toward a new life. I see it everyday in the e-mails, letters, and phone calls from the many people I’ve met on the road the last few years.
We have one life, live free! Finding and following your true identity and purpose can unlock the burning desire within your own soul.