Sometimes your world has to come to a complete halt so you can finally learn to stand still.
That lovely cliche is so common through our new age lingo, yoga-centric, self-awareness obsessed culture. Kind of a trendy catch phrase, for some. Yet, being present is so necessary to our focus, our fertile imagination, and live vibrantly as our healthiest selves.
Have you tried to “be present” however? For a long period of time?
I remember in 2004, I was taking a class in Arts in Politics. Marc and I attended a multimedia art presentation at Talley Student Center. After sitting through a number of presentations, we were informed that the next piece would be with the lights out, and a tape recording of wolves howling for 21 minutes.
As if I were six years old all over again, I thought I was going to die on impact. I have to sit here for 21 minutes? Listening to an occasional wolf howling? Do you have any idea how long 21 minutes is to just sit here? Listening for wolves?
I cannot tell you the times that I have been in traffic and in an itch to be a whole car-length ahead at any cost. It might shave 45 seconds off my drive. I would watch the dashboard clock impatiently. I cannot tell you the times that I would be in camel position in yoga class, thinking how awesome it was that I was within five poses of class ending.
I see you do it to. I see it when you heave your foot down on your gas pedal, just to slam the breaks at the next light and still be no further than I. I see it when you look at the clock behind your friend’s head as you have a conversation with him in the coffee shop. I see it when you smile and say “Hi, how are you today?” to your coworker, but your eyes never meet theirs as you keep walking without pause.
Often, it seems, our individual world as we know it has to crash down, come to an abrupt stop, before we learn to stand still. Before we learn to breathe. Before we learn to see what right now is. Without carrying the past onto it, and without projecting the worries of the future over it. Standing without any undercurrent at all.
The real tragedy is that I realize now how much faster so many people spin in such circumstances. In a moment that brings me to my knees, I see how clearly that I am mortal, that nothing lasts, and that I can spin my way into the deepest panic if I allow the circumstances to own me.
To surrender myself to the chaos of fear, however, means taking what I have to give away from other parts of me. My Faith. My new marriage. My friendships. My own joy. How can I be happy in any of my relationships if I am dwelling in a place of panic?
Instead of letting circumstances control me, I see I can stop with the world that has stopped around me. I can just breathe. I can smile. I can pray. I can cry. I can hear the quiet… or even listen for that wolf. I can look Marc in the eyes. And take time to hear about your day. You can whiz on around me if my driving the speed limit is on your nerves or if you feel I walk a little too slowly. Now, no one and nothing can take that from me.
Taking right now for right now ~ Ashley Sue