Monday, November 17, 2014

Sit down already

A friend was telling me of the joy he is experiencing in in his new relationship. He called it both liberating and relaxing.  Usually surrounded by ''doers'' he is finding liberation in being able to just 'be' both physically and emotionally.  Two things struck me - firstly, the way he used the word joy (I'm going to save that for another post), but secondly the way he talked about just ''being''.

I used to belong to a Bible study group, and we would often refer to the time this group spent together as an opportunity to ''sit down on the inside''.  All busy mothers of preschoolers at the time, this was often the only hour in the week that we would just 'be' too, whether it be in private and quiet prayer or in the group setting.

It's a struggle for me. Then and now. Why do I find it hard to sit down on the inside?  Because I think... I think and think.... all the time.  And when I'm not thinking about what's happening in the present , I'm wondering what I should be thinking about in the next moment or worrying about what happened in the last.  I'm not someone who finds it easy to relax, this I know -  Life is so busy and I am the first one to say I am not good at being. I'm a human doing, really.  Even if I am enjoying coffee, or a pretty view, it's usually accompanied by a book, or a companion, or a mobile device within hands reach.

But I  suppose that part of the reason that I'm not so good at sitting down on the inside, or just ''being'' is that one of the key parts to this is that I believe you have to be OK with the chair you're in. And you have to be content with the view.  Invariably my chair is too hard, or soft, or high or low - and it is too dark, or glarey, or raining and I can't concentrate.

It occurs to me that to sit down inside we need to be comfortable with our inner surroundings but also with the perspective we have on the outer.  Which isn't to say that we have to be joyful about how life is all the time (although we do need a measure of contentment)  - but we need ability to simply stop, breathe, and not have to be doing (even if that doing is just in our heads) all the time.  Easy if you have an overriding sense of happiness in life, not so easy if you don't.

I don't know the answer to fix this.  I do know that I have to do the work myself, and that filling my life with experiences, people or even happy thoughts (positive thinking don't you know!) isn't going to  necessarily change it.  I know that 'just changing that one thing' probably won't make a difference either. The chair might be comfy but the view could just as well still be obscured.  The company beside me on the chair might be perfect, but they want to look out a different window.

I have chosen certain times to 'be' and in fact these times often are coupled with other activities. For example my thinking time is often as I'm hanging out washing, and my prayer time as I'm driving.  the mundane-ness of the washing line means I'm not distracted by the task at hand, and driving alone allows me to talk out loud to God, shake a fist when I feel the need (often!) but also allow the sameness of a long straight road to give my mind some focus.

When life is good it's easier to feel joy, of course it is. And I guess its also therefore easier to sit down inside and experience/appreciate the moment and the view. Yet the irony is, that I suspect that the times that are most important to sit the heck down and not even worry about whats in view (or what isn't) , is when life is not.

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