Stillness, boredom, silence; how do you feel when you hear these words. Stop. Say them slowly to yourself. What feelings well up inside of you when you hear them. Does fear arise within you, do you want to rush past them, tune them out. The way we respond not only when we hear these words with also resemble the way you interact with these things when you encounter them in your life.
Here in North America we are always rushing, looking ahead to the next thing. We are told to think ten steps ahead, to always be ahead of them next curve. We are planners, strategyzers, executors. Now you may think I’m not like that, I’m not striving to grow the corporate ladder. But this is not just a corporate ladder thing.
Think of the last 4 conversations you had with anyone. Changes are pretty high that the exact words you utter to the common questions “How are you?” where something along the line of “busy.”. It is who we are, how we are and it is continually what we choose.
Somehow we feel good about being busy, it somehow defines us as valuable that we have to fight for our time to do nothing makes us feel worth it. That somehow we have to be the one to do whatever it is that comes up, we feel needed by other people, valued above others and like we are getting the most out of life. Yet anyone who ever responds to the questions “How are you?” and responds with the resounding “Busy.” response often sounds like they cannot wait for the so called business to end, only there is no end date.
This defines the way my life looks pretty well, but I refuse to say that it defines me. For most of my life I piled on the hours I worked, often adding another job on top of the first one to make the most of the 24 hour days. Multiple jobs, collage and filling all the space time with anything I could. I felt like I was achieving. Slowly I have begun to learn that I was just occupying myself from being myself. To often this stems from not liking who you are so running towards what you can do rather than facing who you are.
Now I am in a new season. I am a mom. Currently on maternity leave I am no longer working. My days are long and filled with a lot of silence, boredom and stillness. I read, am tied up breast feeding for a couple hours a day, and I take walks for no reason other than to simply walk and I surprisingly enjoy it. These words no longer carry the fear or the feelings of dislike when I hear them. They are sweet and familiar. The are white spaces in how I live.
When I watch my daughter in her stillness, of being unable to move around. When she simply sits in her rocking chair doing nothing contently, her stillness as she sleeps I am reminder that life is not supposed to be a constant race. Silence, white space in the living of our lives allow of contentment in stillness and boredom. In these moments we are able to be okay with being ourselves, rather than competing to be something else. Find some time each day to be content in the empty white spaces of just living.