Before my eyes fully open, I feel the call to hurry. The whisper of not enough time, too far behind, how will I ever keep up. I hide under the covers a while longer, procrastinating, ruminating, unwilling to spend another day spinning wildly like the frenetic, unhappy, world around me.
I want to be still.
Lying in bed, I remind myself of the truth that I can choose my own thoughts and how to move through the world. I take responsibility for what I can and sometimes this means ignoring the dirty floor another week while I put words to page and love the people in my circle of impact. For most of 20 years, it meant preparing food, teaching kids, and intentionally building a safe and creative nest.
I get to choose. And I choose to be still.
There are days I sit down to write or pour myself into practical tasks and my timer startles me when I am yet unshowered, I’ve forgotten to eat, and it’s already time to pick up my daughter from school. I’m unsure where the hours went and though I’ve been focused and diligent so much remains undone.
I am grateful that I took the time at the start of my day to hone in on my top 3 priorities. I’ll be ok.
I am a slow mover and need time to think. To process aloud and turn things over and over again till they are mine and planted deep inside where they may take root. I want long, slow conversation and although I hear that I should never consume before creating, I want to taste your ideas and peer into your brain and this is fundamental to the work I do and what I need to feel sane.
Self-awareness and self-acceptance help still the storm and allow me to plod along and just do me.
When I get caught up in appointments and frustration about anxiety or family history, I remember despite challenging circumstances and genetic predisposition, 40% of happiness lies within my grasp. 40% is a big number and I will take those odds and spin them well and craft a life of beauty with these hands that learn as they go and color outside the lines.
I see my life as work of art and though the world is spinning wildly, I paint in calm, muted tones.
I am driven by mission and curiosity. I know what I want. I want to know more. Yet all too often, my thinking runs askew, deliberate, defiant, onto the path of comparison or envy; I shake myself awake and recall that I can admire your work and all the ways you show up in the world, and still not need to be you. Today I pour my heart upon paper and love you with my words. My words may be published into a bound book one day – smooth paper, rough edges, a hold-in-your-hands offering from my heart to yours. Maybe not.
As long as I show up and live aligned to my mission, it is well with me.
Some seasons my work is to dig in and unearth the old wounds and stories that hold me back or to sit with the happy memories awhile. Some days I need to look ahead and get clear on my vision and goals so I know where to aim my efforts. But more often, what I need is to pull myself back from yesterday and tomorrow to this very spot where I live today. To my brown cord sofa, the mismatched pillows and rag quilts piled up next to me from last night’s movie night and cuddles. To my pj’s, shirt inside out, hair messy in a ponytail. The bitter roast of black coffee lingers on my tongue.
When I come back to this messy moment, I can be still and I am happy.
You get the exact same 24 hours as me and it isn’t true that we can do all things, anything, at once. We must pluck and prune and figure out for our finite selves what it is that we most want to do with the time we are given; it will all be gone one day in the blink of an eye for we are all terminal and there is only one way out. This simple day is a gift and it is the only honest-to-goodness promise I have because this world is spinning wildly and sometimes it spins out of control.
When I show up fully, breathe in deep, and receive open-armed the humble gifts of this ordinary day, my mind slows, my heart expands, and I remember today is enough.
This is how to be still when the world is spinning wildly.
For further reading, you may enjoy The How of Happiness or The Happiness Advantage (affiliate links).
Photo credit: Julia Casafont