…for me, it’s about slowing down.
I saw a Facebook post today with a link to a story about a new, faster way to tie your shoelaces. Needless to say, it got my brain thinking. Has life really gotten so fast, rushed, and in a hurry, that we need a faster way to tie our shoelaces???
I remember a time when, if you wanted to get cash from your checking account, you had to either go into the bank and wait in line or, sit in the drive thru. Now, all we have to do is drive to the nearest ATM…and even then, it takes too long!! So, yeah…i guess Brooks was right…”The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.”
Over the past 3 plus years, i’ve had to teach myself to slow down. I had to…it was a must…the hurried, worried life was consuming me and slowly killing me with aggravation, frustration, and anger. What I found was amazing!! Slowly, I discovered that there was a whole different world out there that I had completely missed out on for 38 years. And who woulda thunk that world could be entered simply by being still.
One of the things I struggled with, was the fact that it was OK to be still…to stop…to look around…to not just hear and see the quiet…but to really listen and look at it. It was not just a struggle, but an outright blood bath fight between my ego, which says “what you are doing/going/wanting is too important so, hurry hurry hurry or you’ll miss something you don’t have yet”, and my Soul which was screaming “is what you are doing/going/wanting really that damn important?” I’m grateful that the Soul had an awesome left hook.
Being still has taught me one important fact…and it is this…”in the grand scheme, it‘s not that important, whatever “it” is.” All those “it‘s” can drag us to the depths of the grand oceans of frustration, fear, and anger…when, not if, we let them.
“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape one hundred days of sorrow.” –Chinese Proverb.
For me, art is a great tool in the “being still” process. Wether it’s a photograph, painting, poem, book, music, etc…Art has the ability to flip the worry and anger switch to off. But, we have to be willing to let stillness into our house.
I mentioned earlier that I had to teach myself to be still. It’s amazing to look back and see “what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now”…and think, “damn, why didn’t I try this stillness thing years ago!!!” Well, our ego thrives on frustration, fear and anger…so, I had to be taught, by Something Greater than me, this new alien concept. My ego would never have just let it happen.
The tools I started using early on to slow down are all around this amazing world. And they’re simple. Sitting quietly and watching a bird, looking at the leaves on a tree move to the rhythm to the wind, looking at a big, goofy, puffy cloud move slowly across the sky…changing in every moment as it does, watching raindrops hit a puddle. All are simple things we can do in any moment. All bring stillness. And all are free to everyone. The only thing you need…is willingness to let the stillness in.
Same goes for using art as a tool in being still. Last night, I found myself on my front porch, headphones on, listening to Eric Johnson’s “Venus Isle” album, while looking at stunning landscape photographs on my tablet. It was peaceful. It was spiritual. It was just what I needed. And my soul was still content this morning when I stepped outside to look at and listen to God’s new morning. Those small moments in a 24 hour day, can and will do amazing things to your mind, heart, and soul. They will give you peace. They will give you serenity. They will open a new world. They will destroy frustration, fear, and anger.
Try this… keep a beautiful photograph, or a peaceful piece of music, or your favorite chapter or poem from a book…keep them with you where you can easily access any of them. When frustration, fear, and anger creep up, stop for a moment. Look and listen to any one of them. Then sit quietly for 5 minutes. It’s a victory for the soul. And…it works. It really does.
I recently looked at some photographs I took before I found stillness. They are rushed, uncreative, dull, mundane, some even give off a frustrated look. Kinda sounds like life in general, today, eh? I never had the patience to slow down and compose a shot, or to shoot in manual mode, or to even think about putting a little blue stone on a boulder for a shot. Slowing down was not a concept I had time for. But, now, slowing down is one of the most vital parts of each set of 24 hours i’m Blessed with. It has freed my mind, relaxed my heart, and opened up my soul.
Give yourself a gift. Be still for a moment. You have plenty of time…there’s 24 hours in a day. Besides, how many of the “it‘s” will you miss if you are still for a moment? Hopefully, all of them. Our egos will hate us…and our soul’s?? Well, our soul’s already love us…we just needed to be still to feel it.