Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stillness

I have always struggled with stillness- the awkwardness of hearing yourself think and being okay with that. As a result, I have only been willing to exercise accompanied by some form of distraction, such as TV or music. Some days, if I'd forgotten my mp3 player or if the battery was dead, would feel too crazy inside to continue, so I would quit. There is a fear, I think, of the sound that our soul makes when the noise of the world is tuned out. Somehow maybe we think that our deepest selves, the parts we tuck away in the recesses of our beings, with the cobwebs and the padlocks, will surface and force us to face the things we hide from the most. Those demons are fierce and hard to manage in silence.

This morning Seth woke up at 4:30 and refused to return to slumber, much to my chagrin. After changing a repulsive poopy diaper in the darkness (amid him thrashing and squawking), I decided it best that we remove ourselves from the premises, lest I lose control of my sanity and throw myself out the nearest window. By 5:30 we were striding through the sunrise toward the local cemetary, Seth safely strapped in the jogger, and I barely conscious. As I made my way up the hills, I stopped to ponder that I had been walking in solitude for nearly an hour, hearing only the sound of my breath and the singing of the birds- and it wasn't as frightening as it had once been- in fact, it seemed rather perfect. I saw the face of God in the trees, the dew on the grass, the tombstones even. Every once in a while Seth would check to make sure I was still behind him,uttering "ma-ma" in a most beautiful cadance, and I was grateful for him and feeling hopeful that perhaps there was a purpose behind the morning's frustration for me, and my exhaustion.

I am striving to welcome more stillness into my life these days- chaos isn't always what is best for me, though I have put myself in those circumstances, as a coping mechanism, for many years. My authentic self speaks a language inaudible by my ears-one that is easily ignored if I refuse to pay attention- it asks me to slow down and to appreciate my life as it is in the present, while reminding me that I have lessons to learn and unfinished business to bring closure to. It tells me to put aside my anger and learn to love more fully. It forces me to see things in my travels that sometimes make me uncomfortable- things that scare me to the core and tempt me to run and hide- reflections of a crooked past, filled with mistakes and thorns that drew a lot of blood; reflections of a present sometimes encapsulated in nothing but self-loathing and shame. But I'm learning to face those things with more acceptance and hope and love. And in the stillness, I can practice honoring the self that I've attempted to bury for so long.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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