Being Still

Since I was a young child, the running joke in my family has been that my first words were "I'm bored." It was my mantra, and it was no doubt irritating for my parents to hear so incessantly. I still remember starting catechism classes and learning about the afterlife, then returning home to drill my mom on what activities Jesus had planned for us after we died. What if the afterlife sucked? What if, after living a good life and aspiring to reach Heaven, we got there and there was NOTHING TO DO for all of eternity? As silly as it sounds, this was a real, profound fear for me. Nothing could depress me as quickly as free time. If I didn't have something to distract me from the run of my thoughts, some goal I was working toward, I would slowly sink into a pit of despair. I'm now almost 40, and things haven't changed a bit in that department. I am so grateful to have a career where every day is completely different, because I just cannot fathom living in a state of constant repetition. For the first few years of running my business, I worked seven days a week. Over the last year, I started taking one day off...and even that kills me, sometimes. People often comment about my work ethic, but in all honestly, filling my schedule up allows me to avoid those periods of silence and stillness that bring me down.

We are now at the time of year when the seasons are changing; the world is darker and colder and we tend more toward introspection and isolation. I've decided to force myself into being lazy for a few hours a week, because I think that my spirit is in need of some recharging. To me, it feels almost like starting a new fitness regimen: unfamiliar and uncomfortable at first, I'm very slowly easing into it. Yesterday I woke up to a chilly apartment, heated blankets, and two purring kitties snuggled up against my sides. As comfortable as I was, my mind kept nagging me to get up, get moving, to start working on something. Rather than listening as I usually do, I just told myself to get out of future mode and back into the present, focusing on the warmth of my blankets, the soft breathing of my pets, the comfort of my bed. And the longer I laid there, the more I began to notice something stirring within: the sensation of gratitude. As I concentrated on staying in the present moment, I felt a sudden rush of gratitude for all that I had, right then, that I forget about in the day-to-day rush of my thoughts: I am healthy, safe, warm, I may not have everything that I want, but I have far more than I need. Right now, in this moment, all is well...and in this moment, this is all that matters.