I often joke that at this time of year I prefer to fly below the radar.
There are a host of reasons for this. I’ve come to enjoy simplicity over excess, I love the movement into reflection and contemplation that a northern hemisphere winter invites, staying put rather than traveling feels comforting in my heart. Most of all, it’s busyness that I’m inclined to step away from.
Busy-ness = getting lost
One Heart Notes reader recently shared that she struggles with being too active. A day later, I bumped into a friend in the grocery store and asked how she was. Similar response: “I’ve got too much going on, don’t have any time.”
Her voice was strained, she looked weary and joyless.
We live in a rapidly changing world. The current is moving towards more, bigger, better, smarter, faster. This tendency can also be found in spiritual circles. The need to be more conscious, more evolved, more enlightened.
When we get caught up in doing, doing, doing, we begin take ourselves and life seriously. Our ‘to do’ list becomes all important. We’re either obsessing about what’s been achieved and what’s not, or we avoid what needs to be done out of feeling scattered and overwhelmed.
About 10 years ago I made the decision to move out of a multi-million peopled city to a small town in the Pacific northwest. To be honest, this was not something I’d dreamed about. It was what my heart insisted.
Deep down I knew the change in geography was massaging my soul to a new level of brightness, but it took at least a year for my physical and subtle senses to adjust to the contrast.
What emerged was a greater attentiveness to each moment. To the texture of light streaming through my windows, the 49 hues of green in a corner of the forest, and the quieter whispers of my heart.
A river cannot be pushed
Life is like a river. It’s origin is unseen. It emerges, then forges a path, invariably winding and convoluted. Sometimes it’s movement is hardly detectable, sometimes it races over boulders. Yet always, without fail, it ends up flowing into the ocean.
When we rush through life we’re behaving as though we can push a river. We innocently believe that ‘I’m in charge. It’s up to me to improve, become smarter, more successful, richer, healthier, more enlightened.’
Slowing down doesn’t mean becoming less active or productive. It’s about becoming present.
Sufi whirling dervishes spin in rapid circles to reach a deep inner state of peace. They show us it is possible to be in motion and be in perfect balance.
The key is to remember that we are a human-being, not a human-doing.
When we direct our attention to the wisdom contained in our heart, we begin to hear it’s whispers. Telling us what’s really important. How to side step what’s spinning us out. How to root into our center.
No longer in overwhelm we wake up to being here now. With our attention in this present moment, our eyes and ears open to notice beauty in the detail of our lives. We discover that by dropping trying and pushing, life carries us to where we’ve always wanted to go.
Gently notice; how you are being. Are you pushing or rushing?
Drop your attention into your chest.
Feel and sense into your heart.
Connect to the river of Life flowing as you, carrying you.
This is lovely and came at a perfect time, on the heels of a conversation between my husband and I about our yearnings for ourselves and for our families.
We did the opposite move a few years ago – from a small town to a big city – and I’ve noticed how much the energy of the city and of modern life can be challenging for me and frankly, contrary to what I value. We find ourselves questioning so much that is assumed for our children and for ourselves or that everyone does – hours of homework and activities and constant stress and busyness and worry over the future (you have to work hard in middle school to be ready for high school, you have to work hard in high school to be ready for college, etc.) The fear that if you don’t do this, your child will miss out. There is so little room for rest and spaciousness.
We are yearning to live by our own lights, to find rest in the hustle and bustle of the city, to give permission to our family and our children to do the same, and to forge a quieter, simpler path.
Your comments also remind me of the healing I’ve been experiencing this year of my trying to force my spirituality and growth. Spiritual striving has been one of my primary addictions, my reaction to what I believed was so alarming and terrible about me. This year my soul reached a point where it said, enough!, and I softened into deeper levels of surrender, letting go of the compulsion to fix myself and placing myself in the hands of Divine love, looking to the Divine for guidance rather than trying to force the flow.