Monday, July 27, 2009

Still, and still...

"Hurry is not of the devil; it is the devil." (Carl Jung 1875-1961)

I'm just going to say this: I behave terribly when it is time to get little people out the door. Partly because I'm always running just slightly late, always underestimating the time it takes to find one pink Croc, the 2 Very Special Playmobil Guys who are to travel with us, and the big sister who is Officially A Bit Dreamy. Partly because no one seems to grasp just how important it IS to get somewhere on time. Partly because no matter how many times it fails, I keep believing that yelling/sighing/stomping (I know, mature, right?) will actually change the outcome.

In fact, I think this ineffective yelling/sighing/stomping sort of behavior has been a bit of a hallmark of the last year or so. A development that doesn't necessarily fill me with pride.

So this was my Mother's Day present this year:

It is a Lisa Leonard necklace, titled "Be Still." I have worn it almost daily since that day in May - it is beautiful, and a sweet little accessory, but it has become a talisman to me. A meditation, if you will, to remind me in its weight against my collarbone that what is required of this moment is to simply Be Still.

It is so hard for any of us to be still.

Those of us with kids are fully occupied by the next activity, the next fight, the next birthday party. Those of us who work are stressing the next deadline, the next phone call, the next meeting. All of us have homes with dishes, with laundry, with bills to be paid, with projects large and small. We all sit with our computers, clicking from tab to tab, instant messaging-emailing-shopping-Facebooking-blogging. Maybe the TV is on for good measure, just in case all the websites go silent at once.

Psychic busy-ness is a specialty of mine: with worry, with guilt, with blame, with doubt. Yet none of those pursuits will bring me to stillness.

Most just avoid stillness through its antithesis: hurry. We are hurrying to the next thing, hurrying to finish, in a hurry to cook, in a hurry to eat, in a hurry to live.

Really, many have addressed this topic far more eloquently, more deeply than I can. For starters, try this post over at Zen Habits:
We are always on, always connected, always thinking, always talking. There is no time for stillness — and sitting in front of a frenetic computer all day, and then in front of the hyperactive television, doesn’t count as stillness.
This comes at a cost: we lose that time for contemplation, for observing and listening. We lose peace.

I am trying to find Still.

So what does this have to do with synchronicity, I hear you wondering. (These modern blogs are so freakin' interactive!) Well, just this: I started this post long ago, right after I got the necklace and I wanted to tell you about my new meditation tool. I'd been doing a lot of thinking about how to preserve stillness in my life, in my kids' lives. I'd been regretting my need to hurry, wondering how I could carve out stillness for my home. And then....I got busy. And hurried. And then I got an email, just ahead of a particularly busy weekend. And this is the photo that greeted me when I clicked 'open':

In every faith, in every tradition, there exists in some form this exhortation - this command: Be Still. It is a command designed to give us nothing less than our lives.

Stop. Cease. Slow Down.



hezro said...

Once again it's like you've been peeking around inside my head and walking away with my very own thoughts. I've had some low moments trying to get my tykes out the door too. I have being late and I've tried to fight so hard against being "that mom" but it's a tough battle. Because the more little people in your life, the more unpredictability. So these days we tend to either be 25 minutes early, or 5 minutes late. It all just depends on whether or not we're having one of *those* days.

Have you tried yoga? It's so awesome to just clear your brain for an hour and relax - a rare luxury in my life these days. And pulling out my camera seems to work wonders for me. It reminds me to sit back and enjoy the process - or at least observe the process. I guess that's the talisman I'm perpetually wearing around my neck. :)

Betsy said...

Thanks for the reminder. Now, if I could just remember...

Lisa Rollins said...

I have found that as I get older (or because I'm getting older and am starting to "notice things") I need more time to *process*. I can't run from one thing to the next all day, consuming information and stimulation, and expect to climb into bed and actually fall asleep. My mind is still slowly, deliberately processing all the various things that happened today (and yesterday sometimes, too). Instead, I have to start doing something boring around bedtime. Brushing teeth and washing face isn't long enough. It has to be at least an hour of slightly boring stuff. No reading email or Facebook. No opening paper mail. Dishes and laundry do just great for this time of day. If nothing else, it seems a chance to get boring chores done.

Great post and a great reminder for us all. I do love quiet time, but being still during the day is incredibly hard for me. I would like it not to be so much that way.

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