Life is confusing (but that’s the fun right?). I’ve been wrestling a lot lately with the contradictions before me. On the one hand I feel a drive to constantly influence the world around me, to make an extra phone call, send an extra email, or have an extra meeting in the hopes that somehow I’ll improve things for the better. I also work hard at putting out good intentions, working envisioning the day, week, month year ahead of me that I want. But on the other hand I try and trust and allow as my mom always advised me. She told me that when we push, force, strain too hard instead of allowing we not only miss the good around us, but we also miss what we’re looking/working for in the first place. I have a note card my mom sent me a few years ago posted to my computer screen to remind me of this. She encourages me to enjoy the quiet and the calm:
When I can truly accept being drained of energy, I see it not as an opportunity because that implies too much control on my part, but as an opening. It’s as if a window has opened or a door, inviting me to listen. It is liminal (literally “threshold”) time, the fertile ground between waking + sleeping, between doing + being. It is when I am half awake, before my list making brain takes over and pretends it’s in charge, that my best ideas come. I ask you to consider the value in the quiet times, when you can listen.
In my mom’s quoted note she’s basically talking about how the best way to find the answers we seek is not to grind it out, but instead to relax and allow. They will come. Stay in the high energy activities, those that don’t drain you, and don’t fret.
For me this means less worrying about where I’m going, and more enjoying where I am. It means less beating myself up for not having this, or not doing that, and more appreciation for what I’ve done. And most importantly it means time to just be (quiet, alone, silent), and listen to the world around me. A journey is made of two parts, the road there and the destination, each equally important, exciting, and amazing. It helps me to think of my journey as a road trip, where I’m behind the wheel. I’m in control (although I have to deal with issues everyone has to deal with, other drivers, traffic jams, weather, etc), behind the wheel, and I can go wherever I want to go. It’s very easy to get stressed about not “being there,” yet, or about not moving fast enough, but the sweet spot on this journey lies in enjoying where you are, enjoying the road, the wind through your hair, the music in your ears, and the excitement of what’s ahead running through you.
My mom was as good at this as anyone.