This morning I woke up to a city that is bracing itself for a heat wave. So as the local anchors tell us what’s to come, they add in their bits and pieces of advice: walk with water, wear light colors (hard for five boroughs whose basic uniform is based on black), and oh yeah the real feel temperature is 98 right now- the sun should rise in twenty minutes.

Heading out the apartment, I was struck by the quiet of it all. At 5:28, there was no nosy next door neighbor with a puppy that fit in the side compartment of her bag, no chatty veteran with bad knees and Buick, no graying woman to shout across “I like those shoes girl!” even though secretly sometimes I love that she’s there.

Quiet mornings remind me of the advice my mother gave me when I finished undergrad. She said that even though it would be easy to pay attention to those who seemed further ahead or bragged to stretch the point, I should stay focused on what it was that I wanted from life and where I wanted to go. I doubt that my mother graduated to the same kind of Facebook dominated world that I did, but the pattern is as old as time itself. When you are working to succeed, there will be others whose only job seems to take your eye of the goal. Of course they won’t pose as distractions- they’ll just catch your gaze and hold it. And in that holding pattern, we all find ourselves wondering the same thing: am I about to fall behind.

It’s been a few years since, but I’ve always held on to my mother’s advice. While it’s easy to pay attention to the noise of the world, the quiet moments shouldn’t scare me. Quiet mornings are the perfect time to get centered again, to remind yourself why you are here.  It can be that moment that Paulo Coehlo writes about in his novel By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept.

“We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. Every day, God gives us the sun–and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy.”

Today, before the noise of the world surrounds you- find your solace in the quiet times that come to you and use that moment to change your day .

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