"We're all just walking each other home." - - Ram Dass

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Practicing the Art of Being Still

I just got back from my soul quenching vacation.  It was exactly what I was looking for in a week away.

As is the case when you have a spare moment to catch your breath, I noticed some things about myself as well.

The beauty of this trip wasn't just the landscape {although this right here? this didn't hurt}

It was that even though we had some wonderful things planned, we also had many hours to fill with whatever we desired.

Oh sure, I had a mental list that would squeeze sap from a number 2 pencil, of all the things that if I wanted to make the most of my time I would do:  I was going to fill my time writing pages upon pages in my journal...character studies...self exploration... I brought my running shoes like I was going to run anywhere but back in line for more ice cream...and oh, I would have deep conversations with Jason that would bridge the gap that managing a household and parenting on separate shifts creates.

I boarded that plane with more good intentions than clean underwear and fastened my expectations tighter across my lap than I did my seatbelt. This trip would restore...I'd make sure of that. 

Instead, I smiled once in Jason's direction and fell dead asleep. Full out, mouth gaping, head hanging - sleep. I woke in a panic and said to Jason "woah, I don't know what just happened." And he looked at me and said, "You were forced to sit still for a minute, and your body took what it needed."

I had to fight the urge to feel as though I had wasted time.  And as we boarded the boat and lost all cell coverage, e-mail reception, blog updates, school reminders...I had to loosen my belt of expectations a bit and realize that these things that I 'do'? They don't define me.

See, as Emily so wonderfully puts it, I'm a barely recovering Good Girl. {In fact, I'm thinking I need to instate a AA inspired chip system that rewards days that I don't try to earn my value.  Only, my chips will be the chocolate kind...}

But this trip, oh, it wrapped me in its arms and told me to let go.

 Don't write one word that doesn't burn to be written. Instead rest in the words of, not the soul shattering kind.  The Hunger Game Trilogy kind, tucked under a comforter or under the setting sun.

Don't speak one word that doesn't need to be said.  Don't poke at barely healing wounds simply because we have time to change the dressings.  Instead fall delightfully back into laughing, or saying really nothing just like we used to.  Like we did before we had to speak of carseat logistics and 401k growth. Finding more closeness over a shared look in an elevator than from hours of heavy handed comments.

Don't self analyse to "Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole" proportions. Embrace my own forward movement to want to love, live, and learn more, yes...but instead also allow for my thoughts to remain where they are.  Allow my brain to power down and rest.

I lost my chip last night. {and this girl hates to lose out of chocolate}. I caught myself stirring spaghetti sauce, google reader scrolling, Itunes singing, responding to an e-mail on my phone all at once.  When my daughter came in to ask if she could help me, I looked up from my haze, needing to come down because I had been "using" again.  Where I used to say multi-tasking, I am now calling multi-missing.

I nearly missed the freckle of sauce that landed on her nose as she tugged and prodded, directing my sleeve to stir the pan.

I nearly missed the look of pride as she gleefully threw a noodle against the wall, declaring dinner ready.

So, I am committing myself.  Rehabilitation to the art of being still.  I will not count my worth in tasks achieved.

Counting instead the eyelashes that catch falling snow.

Counting instead how the truths of Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a Dream" shine when spoken with the fervor only five year olds possess.

Counting instead the grays growing at the temples because I've been by his side for each one.

Counting instead a life worth lived by the moments that leave me full and still.

{Linking with Emily and Jennifer}


  1. Just lovely thoughts as usual Tara. And I can so relate to this. When I go away I have to de-program and when I do I have the revelation of kairos time again. Then when we return home I am back in the haze as well. It takes work for me to stop and notice moments with my children. Every day, every minute, every moment, embracing the life right in front of me. Lord, let me see with your eyes!

  2. Ooh, I like that - "multi-missing." That's so true. And I'm so glad you're reminding me to put the phone, internet, self-expectations down too. :)

  3. smiles...great post...we easily fall into the trap of filling our time...and in that missing so much...thanks for directing us back...

  4. Tara, you have such a magnificent way with words, a way of capturing your moments. I admire your admittance throughout this post, it is an uphill battle to be, but I'm not sure there is much else.
    You are lovely.

  5. This was so good...going to get my pile of chocolate "chips"!

  6. Oh. My. Goodness. Girl.

    You know how to rock a computer keyboard. This is fantastic. And I'm thrilled you've linked up at Getting Down With Jesus.

    (P.S. -- We could be twins. I've got the tight belt of expectation wrapped around my waist, too, even on vacation. ~smile~)

  7. I'm glad this post burned to be written. The Holy Spirit knew that some of us out here are "using" again too. Multi-missing is a great synonym for multi-tasking. It expresses the truth of the pride that lurks in "multi-tasking." I hope the eyelashes have snow on them many times today!

  8. Breathe...and count those snow flecked lashes, flecked with purity sent from above.

  9. sigh. this made me long for a vacation :) beautiful friend...

  10. hmmm... can I go there too? I am JUST the same way for every date night or weekend away, full-to-the-brim of expectations. Ah, this message. Just Be. :)

  11. Oh, this post gave me a rest, as if I were there, too... just lovely!

  12. "using" again. yes.
    wow, tara. just wow.

  13. Can I join this group for recovering multi-missers? Seriously, I needed to read these words and take a deep breath and power down.