2013 is off and running. Punxsutawney Phil, Pennsylvania groundhog, has predicted an early spring. Daylight savings is right around the corner, March 10. If that weren’t enough, Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, is next week (February 13), not to mention that you may have things that are swiftly moving in your own lives. When life feels quick and demanding, whether by my filling my own plate, allowing others to do so, or when occurrences just spill it all over the place, I am reminded of the importance of slowing down, even to stillness, that I may move.
Life doesn’t consider how events around us will affect our balance and harmony. To make things worse, sometimes we may not even give priority to such things as balance and harmony in our lives over the old, reliable justification, “I’ve got too much going on.” Consequently, when the pace quickens and busyness swells, we can easily assume the only response is to do more, worry more, and rely more on ourselves; our minds race with moods and our well-being follow.
Once upon a time, I had received a congressional earmark grant for an “innovative” project with gang members. This grant appeared as money through the Department of Labor. The experts around me were quick to convey their belief (their “truth”) that such a grant would be so frustrating and burdensome that it wouldn’t be worth it. Recognizing this to be their “truth,” I chose not to believe it. In times of heightened change, activity, or even possibility, I want to be aware of what I’m believing about my life, what will come, and how it has to be. Whose truth has become, or wants to become, mine or yours? If we agree, we may find ourselves accepting it into how we perceive our experience. Secondly, with other responsibilities growing, I found myself in times of heightened activity, more to do. I woke up earlier, worked more, became more isolated, justified my grumpiness by how important my work was, and became less healthy. Not only did my life become less of what I wanted, my approach wasn’t all that effective. Then, I had this thought, “Slow down to do more with ease.” So, when I had a big deadline, I decided I drove slower to the office. After arriving, I spent considerable time visiting with people (staff) in our church and community center. “What’s up?” “How’s life?” Then, I’d arrive in my office with fewer hours, far fewer, to complete my task, AND I did better work, more efficiently, with far greater ease and success. One thing I noticed is how much more effective a clear and more joyful, peaceful mind is than a stressed, anxious mind. Imagine!
This brings me to stillness. In those times, I moved slow enough to find myself enjoying stillness. I was more aware of and enriched by nature and relationships. Even more, I was far more aware of the Spirit in my life, actually may be better to say my life in the Spirit. This, of course, is the key. Slowing, even to stillness, that we may find ourselves flowing in the Spirit in ways that are so much better for us and even our pursuits. Connected was better than alone.
I’ve often thought that busyness and self-reliant, individualism have joined to surpass being a social value to being a common addiction, luring belief in the illusion that we’re living better for it, and it just is how it is. Perhaps the spiritual awakening around us, desiring spiritual practice and experience, including connecting with others on faith journey, is a response to this. We are a people in whom others seek connection to the Holy, moving and compelling us to join in seeking the Spirit’s movement and enjoy the consolations of peace and harmony and loving-kindness. Especially as we approach our Lenten journey, let us slow our pace that we may be moved to stillness with God, experiencing and becoming the expression of that Peaceful Mover. For our spiritual life is our life!