Stillness

Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity – Lao Tzu

There was a seat between all of us in the circle.

Her. Seat. Her. Seat. Him. Seat. Me.

The First Her was telling the Second Her that she should treat Chicago as if she was brand new and to rediscover it as if she had just moved here. Yes, the Second Her said, that’s a good idea.

Him them inquired about the situation and the Second Her explained that, while she was from Chicago, she recently returned to the U.S. after four years spent in South Korea. She’s been home, what seven months, she said, burring her head in her hands.

Seven months of pent up emotions started to spill. She had me at, “I am not sure who I am anymore. I am not the person I was before, but I am not the same person I was there. I don’t know who I am.”

Yes, I said. I know, I said. I’ve been there, I said. I told her that it feels like someone yanked the meaning and purpose out of you and all you’re left with is your nearly bearable loneliness.

I met the Second Her at the weekly meditation group I’ve been attending for a few months. We both came to the group to find something we just weren’t finding in our normal lives – companionship, inner peace, something we can’t describe but know we need. She told me how hard it’s been for her to re-transition back into life in the U.S. and I told her that I just came from a very brutal year where I was doing that very thing. I explained that while I still have hard times, which I do, hitting that year mark definitely made a difference. With time, normalcy comes.

This rejuvenated her. She hasn’t met anyone who experienced this before, so she was elated to find someone who could say, Oh, yes, I know those emotions well. She gave me a bit more credit than I deserve in my ability to bounce back, but I wanted her to know that it does get it better. And I shared something with her that a wonderful woman named Madeline told me: you will never stop processing what this means and your story will continue to have chapters throughout your life.

But, at some point you have to be still. I told her that I constantly want to run away, that I want to get on a plane and go somewhere for my next adventure. I don’t, though. First, I’ve already broken my mother’s heart enough. Second, I need to be still. I need to accept the things that come into my life, what’s here and what’s not. I want to be comfortable in just being because I know it’s what my soul needs. Joy doesn’t come from escaping; it’s in us and we must cultivate it.

It’s what Second Her needs, too.

Sometimes taking that great big leap into fear and uncertainty means staying right where you are, accepting the still and believing it has all that you need.

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