Remember and Celebrate

April 28, 2012

The ADHD Brain on Solitude

from the book “Lake Lessons”

Solitude and Silence is a bit more “front and center” in my thinking these days because I am part of a group doing a book study on Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton. Just “being” with God seems to be a challenge for anyone, but doing it through the grid of Adult ADHD  has an added dimension.  There is an aspect of it that seems impossible for me.  I wish I could simply sit and “be.”  More often than not, I am  “doing” all over the place in my brain.

I find myself struggling to “do it right.”  (I’ve done a lot of personal work around that issue – not an unusual struggle for someone with ADHD who usually didn’t do things “right” for a lot of people in their lives.)   So I have been working on accepting that solitude and silence may not look the same for me as it does for others. And since sitting quietly with my hands open in my lap is death to silence and solitude for me , I often write, because writing helps focus and slow down the racing thoughts in my brain.  Slowly I am learning to give myself permission to experience it in a way that is congruent with the way God created me.

During a recent conversation with a friend we talked about the importance of having a breath prayer.  Praying that prayer helps keep us in the quiet place of being.  My breath prayer changes from time to time.  This particular morning I just started writing, kept writing and praying and prayed the distractions right into my prayer time.

I have no illusions I have arrived – this is an ongoing journey for me, but here I share where I was on April 10, 2012.    As I prayed, I thought of breathing in God’s love (like oxygen) and breathing out the things that do not nourish me.

It’s April 10th, National Siblings Day.
And I am not overwhelmed with grief.
I think of the three of them with Joy
      thankful for the time I had them in my life.

Lord it’s so good to be here,
      at my lake
      on my rock
      under my willow tree
      snuggled in a blanket
      coffee cup in hand.

Thinking about your faithfulness.
Immanuel, God here with me
You came.
You left the Holy Spirit.
And I am not alone . . . ever.
Today my heart knows this truth.
Sometimes only my head knows.

Breathe You in.
Breathe out grief.

Breathe You in.
      Breath out pain.
           A duck quacks
           Now I’m thinking about quacking ducks.


          For a moment I feel despair over my distraction.
          Then I remember –
          You made the ducks
          part of your creation.
I  smile
I continue to write. . .

Breathe in and out.

Breath You in.
      Breathe out tension
over the details I must juggle today.

Breathe You in. . .
      There is traffic moving along the street across the lake.


Breath out hurry
Breath out going places on my own.

Breathe You in,
Breath out loneliness
Ducks swimming in pairs.


My siblings are gone
But I am not alone.
I have You and special friends  in my life
It’s just that they are all getting redistributed.
as you move them from place to place.  

Thank you Lord for phones, email and skype.
and for knowing I will be with my siblings again.
There will be one big “hello”
And no more “Bye, C’ya” again . . . ever.

3 Comments

3 responses to “The ADHD Brain on Solitude”

  1. Jedidja says:

    Recognizable. Nice to read. I struggle also with ADHD.

  2. Elaine, I’m pretty sure it’s a universal problem. I guess that’s why it takes practice?! I do think ADHD adds another dimension, but I also am learning that God takes us where we are and as long as we are paying attention, he is able to be heard when we stop long enough..

  3. Elaine says:

    I have a terrible time with focusing on God too and I don’t think I have ADHD. Why is is so hard to sit and listen? But then, I think that maybe God has allowed some thoughts to come in my mind as a way to talk to me. I try to pay attention. Thank you so much for your honest sharing.

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