Now what?

Have you ever reached your goal and then didn't know what to do next? Or, have you ever made it through an extremely tough situation only to find yourself unsure of what you will do "now"? Most of us have come to that place where we are just uncertain of the next step and it is during these times that, if we're looking, we can discover a freedom of sorts to do, well... nothing.

I'm not suggesting that this nothing last forever, or even a day or a week. I am just saying that when you get to a point and there is no clear directive, it is ok to just sit and be. Of course, you can stand, jump, lie down, or whatever, but there is no requirement to have the next thing already figured out.

I have said over and over that we are not alone. We never go through anything alone, even when there is no other physical "person" with us. And I have come to understand the quiet that comes after some major happening in my life to mean that I can feel free to do nothing. It is like a reward of sorts. I find that I am not alone when I am really still. Do you know what I mean? Have you ever been still?

Reminisce with me. Close your eyes and go back to a time in your life when it felt really good to do nothing. Sometimes our imagination is a little tired so if you're not into mind exercises, may I suggest the following: You're just a kid, it's late autumn, the leaves in the trees are screaming for you to take notice, the smell of crisp, perfect air is all around, the bluest skies ever painted are suspended perfectly between heaven and earth just for you, laughter's in the background and your team just won, or the wedding is over, or the funeral complete. It's Saturday afternoon and you're tired. You really could use a break from everything... no one quite understands how you feel about the scene that just went down and for the strangest reason, for the first time in your life you're at a loss for words; you can't even explain it. On and on and on and on and on... your mind just wrestles with the issues and you suddenly just give up. There's nothing to do but do nothing. I know of no one that cannot relate in some way to the feeling. It is universal. It is the signal we need to hear. It is the still small voice that is always trustworthy whispering to us to "Just be still."

I guess what I am meaning here is that our emotional guidance system is operating under extreme pressure to keep us balanced out during stressful or exciting times and refueling is only natural. I used to be a workaholic and I could never justify "downtime." That was for people who had less than enough drive or whose goals were not set high enough. I see now that I was not clear on the whole "sabbath" idea.

Watch out now, I'm not going "churchy" (is that even a word?) on you, but God knew what was needed when the weekend was created. This post is ultimately about personal balance, and I feel very strongly that many of us are not being kind to ourselves and allowing time for nothing to have real meaning in our lives. We are always going about doing something. It seems that we have difficulty being comfortable with stillness. The term "just be still" seems impossible.

Just. Be. Still. Only three words, but quite possibly three of the hardest words to honestly use when describing how we deal with stress. Why do we feel stressed anyway? In general we are just too busy and we fail to make downtime a priority. Guilt can keep us from ever exploring the quiet that always exists in the music that lies underneath the everyday sounds that have constantly distracted us, so effortlessly, for so long. We can experience a peace beyond description just by stopping the routine and intentionally choosing to be still. Quiet. Alone.

Three deep breaths and an image of peace in your mind everyday for only a few minutes can yield for you a real purpose for quiet, as it disrupts the everydayness that can become your existence. Reflect. Contemplate. Pray. Imagine your best days that are just ahead of you. Do something that feels especially good but... be still. Be quiet in your own private heaven for as long as you are willing and you will thank me later. ;-)

Peace is the way, and the sooner we agree, the sooner we can all heal. I'm ready. -- jb

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Have any thoughts on this post? I'd really love to hear from you. Be Peace, Make Peace -- jb