Moments of Stillness

When you travel you really become painfully aware of how unfathomably massive this world is. You can feel the planet pulsating around you, feel the electricity of existence emanating from every direction, the life-force of the world a living breathing entity in and of Herself that demands every bit of your attention paid to every single inch of Her. The sirens call of the Universe. It can be beautiful. It can be deafening. It’s difficult for me to accept the moments when I need to turn down the volume.

About a week ago, a friend texted me and told me to enjoy my week, and to enjoy “moments of stillness” within it. Stillness. The act of being…simply, and simply being. The act of being. It stuck with me. And it could not have come at a more appropriate time.

The week that followed was the most bizarre of my time here. And I have to admit, to my single perception of the world that guides me through each day, my time here has been pretty damn bizarre. All in good ways. The past week brought the less desirable incarnations of bizarre. And almost as if it was an instinct I was unaware I possessed, I did not need to seek stillness. Stillness instead sought me.

I sat in my rear doorway today, home to recent clashes of the competing sides of life in this plane of existence and subsequent mental and emotional clashes that hold resonance in the walls to which it leads, and gazed up at the overcast sky. Clouds as dark as the night, masking the sun. They drifted swiftly by, as silently as anything in this world could hope to travel. They spoke of a greater magnitude of space and time around me, where that pulsating planet plays out its ongoing drama in all its beautiful manifestations, and reminded me of a simple fact:

I am me.

Incessantly towing the line between connection and codependence, I often forego moments of true Self-connection and lose sight of that constant truth. I think we all do. We look at our lives and the events within them as stories separate from ourselves. The sort of duality Eckhart Tolle speaks of when he once pondered the curious statement: “I cannot live with myself any longer.” As if there were two selves – the I that he was and the self with whom he could no longer live. So when a series of unfortunate events takes a grip on our lives, we find ourselves wondering, “Why did this happen to me?” As if some outside force was inflicting some ‘happening’ upon us. Forgetting that we are individual manifestations of the great Everything. If there is no solid proof that everything around me is not a mental projection for my own purposes, there is no way to refute the statement that Everything and I are one. So I am Everything, Everything is me. I am me.

I sat there for a moment under those clouds. I turned my head downwards and noticed my eyes looking down to the ground. I became aware of the extent of my peripheral vision, of the faint outline of my nose between my eyes, of the way my shirt touches my neck when my head shifts position, of the difference in the air in the direction I was now facing. I noticed my hand, connected to my arm, both parts of myself that I can fully control. I opened my hand. I made a fist, I opened my hand again. My veins pushing up like winding rivers beneath my skin. My bracelets generating color contrast with my tan from the African sun currently resting behind the clouds. Each and every hair dotting my arm. It was all mine. All within my power. I slid into the silence brought by the cover of the clouds. Crickets. A bird. A child laughing from some distant hut. Soft sounds, and nothing else. The faint illumination of a crash of lightning on the horizon. It was all around me, it was me. It was silent, it was calm, it was…exactly what it was.

A moment of stillness.

If my phone had not been stolen this weekend I would likely have been waiting for a Whatsapp text from a loved one. If my friend hadn’t had a close call walking in the dark recently I would likely have been off rushing from place to place as the sun set. If my back door had not been broken into yesterday, I would likely not have felt the need to sit in this particular entryway into my home in an effort to make peace with it.

A series of events brought me to that moment. It was not life-changing, it was not vastly different from moments I have had in the past, or really very different from moments I have had frequently over the past 2 months I have been here for that matter. But it was what it was. It was a moment. A moment I felt merited a writing session at my computer. The moments we remember, those we hone in on, and those that capture the majority of our attention even after they are far behind us, tend to be those filled with action, drama, stories, events, moments we deem worthy of capturing in conversation with someone else when asked how our day was. We overlook the moments in between, and relegate them to the status of “moments in between.” Imagine if we all took these moments of stillness in…really took them in for what they were worth. Reminders that we exist, we live, and we continue to exist and live even in the moments in between. Life never stops, until it stops for good. In the meantime, life goes on. No matter what.

And so we dance beneath the lights and laughter of the great cosmic comedy swirling around us.