The past seven months have been weird.
In the spring, the pandemic forced everything to close down and all my extracurricular activities and side hustles to temporarily cease and desist. My body and mind rested and remembered the joys of peace and quiet. I made reading, baking, painting, working out, cooking, self-care and cleaning weekly priorities. I called my grandparents (all four are blessedly still alive and thriving) multiple times a week and wrote cards to friends. I established a healthy sleeping schedule. I actually met my neighbors (and shared baked goods with them). I took time to have meaningful conversations with my roommates.
Then, in the summer, everyone got creative (as humans do) and figured out how to do almost all normal social activities. There was a collective lift in spirits as we all jumped at the chance to do things together again. I saw the light of life after quarantine at the end of the long tunnel. I started a business with my best friend. I still eked out time to do all my hobbies, while continuing to work full-time and squeezed more and more socially distanced gatherings and events into each weekend.
This fall, life relaunched into full turbo mode. But my brain, body and spirit repelled the lurch back into a schedule of a full-time job and daily part-time evening activities. My first few weeks teaching a college course at my alma mater were full of anxiety and frustration. Getting back to teaching dance and yoga at multiple studios was stressful. After months of living a relatively laid-back life, it was hard to transition back to my former lifestyle of non-stop activity.
While on one hand, I would have been happy to quit everything and return to the quarantine life of being a hermit, on the other hand, I also really like doing “all the things.” After struggling to understand what BEING STILL and DOING LESS actually looked like in my jam-packed life, I fortunately found some perspective and resorted back to some of my quarantine happy habits, including taking my time in the morning to mentally prepare for the day.
As I get ready, I pray for wisdom, strength, joy and purpose. I often kneel or find a comfortable seated position. Sometimes I’m quiet and still for a few moments. Sometimes I do a quick Sun A yoga series, take a few deep rounds of breath and say an “om” or two. Before I leave the house, I read a poem from “All Along You Were Blooming,” a lovely collection of illustrations and reflective phrases by Morgan Harper Nichols. Every day after I read a poem, I move the ribbon bookmark to a random page for a “surprise” poem the next day. I don’t believe in coincidences – just divine providences and promptings. An excerpt from today’s poem:
"After all these years of going and going,
there is room to rest for a little while
There is time to slow down
and stare up
at the blue, red, and hint of yellow
of a twentieth-century stained glass window,
a fading yet sacred art,
placed piece by piece
to create the kind of history
that comes to life beyond your eyes.
How do we know
how we were meant to spend every second of our time?
Were we really meant to rush with all abandon toward
some earthly hilltop finish line?
Or was God
telling us something
in those whispers to “be still,”
that all along,
it was necessary,
to slow down,
and be unapologetically at awe
at this small piece of the world,
that took your trembling hand
and caught you by surprise."
We can and should “be still and do less.” For as much as we’re made to be active, we’ve also been created to find rest, nourishment and refreshment. Among other things, I’m thankful for this lovely book to remind me to “pause and be unapologetically at awe.”
Be still. Do less.
Soli deo Gloria.