This post comes from our contributor Kristen Hedges.
On most days, I write my blog posts from the flat lands & musty city of Fort Hood, Texas. It’s a fine place to be for now, but it’s temporary, and as the year quickly carries on, I’m finding myself wringing my hands and tapping my feet, already impatient for December, the month that we’re finally moving our little family of four back to our hometown in California.
But today, I’m writing to you from the pine peppered hills of the West Coast. The new Spring sun is pink on my shoulders, my ears are full of laughing uncles, sisters, cousins, friends, and all the world is soft and warm and slow. I’ve missed it here. The hundred shades of green, the way the grass turns transparent in the sunlight, the way everything tastes sweeter.
When I’m back in Texas, I can easily allow myself to be consumed with quick, urgent thoughts — the kind that make my belly knot up & my mind fog over. When can we start packing? How many days are left before I move home? What’s happening in the hills that I’m missing out on?
It’s this kind of urgent, unhappy thinking that serves as a silent poison to your spirit. It snatches you away from the present moment. The beautiful here, and now. And this is where your life is truly happening – not somewhere in the future.
We unintentionally cultivate a sense of urgency about our lives. Things aren’t moving fast enough, we don’t have enough time to make our flight, there are too many days before I get to pack cardboard boxes and move back home. It’s a difficult habit to shake off, and you may find that after a while, it’s turned from a habit, into a lifestyle.
But in any situation where you begin to breathe quickly, more shallowly, and your heart slams against your ribs, you can pause, and remember that within you, there’s a constant & accessible stillness.
So, if you find that it works, kindly remind yourself: I am an Ocean. With a turbulent surface, yes. Sometimes stormy. Sometimes placid. And below, a rocky bottom, littered with bits of broken glass, arrowheads from battles past, rocks, dirt and mud. But between? An incredible depth. Always still, no matter how tumultuous the surface; how jagged the floor.
You can close your eyes. Take a breath. Imagine diving in, past the surface, into the quiet and calming depths below. Find that still place. That sweet spot. There, you will find happiness, no matter how many days you have left to cross from the calendar, no matter how late you are to your dinner date, or how much you still have to pay on your student loan.
Now, open your eyes, and begin again.