It might be a little bit strange to write this post on a train, following an action-packed three weeks of planes, buses, trains, and airports, but it is something that I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the idea of standing still.
I have been able to fly around to some of the most spectacular places I have ever visited, and have found places in the world that are phenomenally and wonderfully “me”. So, as I traipsed around, I couldn’t help imagining what my life would look like if I packed up and flew away to somewhere new.
I know that if I went to somewhere different, there would be new challenges and exciting experiences to be had. I would be able to ignore the weighty issues in my life by concentrating on acclimating to a different place. I might be able to brush aside slow process of working through emotional discomfort for the immediate urgency of sorting out life details, like where to get groceries, how to read road signs, or where to get a solid cup of coffee.
It is so appealing to think that if I go somewhere new and keep BUSY, I can avoid this challenging period of time. But the truth is that I need to deal with this and no matter where I hang my hat at night, I will still be there, complete with all my feelings.
No matter where you go, there you are.” – Confucius
So perhaps it is time to stand still, to stay put for a moment, to pause in this place and to face things head-on.
But it is so wildly uncomfortable to be still and so very easy to be busy! If you have ever tried meditation, you may know how the minute you try to “empty your mind” and be still, 40 bazillion thoughts storm in and stomp around. It is much easier to be busy – to make lists, to make plans, to move around, to run, but it is so important to be still.
The most difficult thing to do right is to stand still, but it also might be the most necessary.
Before I figure out my next steps, before I search once more for a “soft place to land”, I need to remain here in this uncomfortable familiarity and breathe through the discomfort, and figure out how to heal my heart.
By staying still for just a moment, I can make sure the next step I take is something I choose, not out of fear or avoidance of pain, but because it is something that will enrich my life in a positive way, and help me become the sort of kind, gentle, and successful human that I want to be. Maybe (hopefully) that will mean moving to an exciting new place, or taking on a new professional challenge, but for right now, I am going to try to just be here.
Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you
are not lost. Wherever you are is called here.
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying here.
No two branches are the same to Raven.
No two trees are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
you are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
where you are. You must let it find you.