Calm Instead of Bustle
My husband and I live in a little apartment in the city, surrounded by many other apartments. The walls are not particularly thin, yet, it is normal to once in a while hear some signs of life from the neighbours. Personally, I consider that as normal. We are a community of many different people with many different needs in a rather confined space. That means tolerance as well as thoughtfulness in contact with each other. It also, to some degree, means connection.
Recently, however, I noticed quite a bit of unusual activity going on, around me. It feels like suddenly everybody has got ants in the pants. There is banging and construction noise going on every day. There are really loud arguments breaking out, going on for several days with people standing in front of the building and screaming at the top of their lungs. There are people making Sunday their weekly spring cleaning day, new arrangement of furniture included.
Last Sunday it all came to a climax. I was awakened by hammering sounds from the flat right next to our bedroom. Simultaneously some loud shoving sounds came from the apartment above. During breakfast the people in the flat on the other side – next door to our kitchen (and breakfast room) chimed in with some strange noises. And during my afternoon nap finally the neighbour from downstairs decided to vacuum the space in front of his door in the stairwell. As a reminder: It was Sunday.
It felt like people are literally afraid to calm down. That is something I remember from my own path and it still seems to knock on my door, from time to time. This feeling that when one calms down, something will emerge from the dark depths of the unknown. Something big and powerful. One doesn’t know what it is, and this combination of the unknown and the powerful scares the “you-know-what” out of oneself. So, one keeps themselves busy at all costs.
This chimes in nicely with the fear of not being enough. Good enough. Productive enough. Pretty enough. – The list goes on and on. The society most of us grew up in taught us that we have to be better, to do more, to look better. We learned that busyness is a good thing and calm means lazy. If one just works hard enough they can achieve everything, right?!
Personally, I don’t believe that it works this way, anymore. In fact, I believe that if one just works hard enough they can’t achieve anything except hard work. I believe, that energy follows attention and that what ever we focus on is what we receive in the end. I believe it is pretty much like in “ask and it shall be given you”.
What does that mean regarding the fear from the powerful unknown?
In my personal experience that means, when I focus on fear and on running away from it I find more fear and more running away. It also means, if I expect the powerful unknown to be something bad I experience it as such.
What, on the other hand, if I open the door a little crack for the possibility that the powerful unknown I am noticing deep down is something beautiful? What, if I allow the potential for something great and good?
What, if this unknown and powerful is my own beautiful greatness?
I admit that the path to this beautiful greatness often seems to be entangled with unrecognized feelings like shame, guilt and what-not. Whatever it is, I learned that it does not go away if I choose to run away.
Only when I choose to calm down, take a deep breath and then take responsibility for my own feelings, I empower myself to let go of the old and allow my own beautiful greatness to take place, instead.”
Instead of opting for blind, numbing bustle I remember more often to choose calm. Sometimes it takes a while until I notice. Sometimes I notice and act reluctant for a while longer. Yet, always when I choose calm I feel so much better, stronger and freer.
And after this past Sunday I surely remember those benefits even better.
Do you know moments like this? Have you experienced this kind of nearly compulsive busyness? Do you have something that helps you to focus and find your center in such moments?