the necessity of slowing down

It SO easy to see it in others: my friend got sick and I instantly saw it as an invitation for her to slow down and rest. Yet, I’ve been sick for a week and didn’t see it as an invitation FOR ME to rest. In fact, I was frightened to death that there was nothing for me TO DO here, at this time. Everything in my new house is taken care of and I have all I can possibly need. Except peace of mind…

I’ve been feeling restless. So I increased the amount of stress I habitually put on myself by demanding that I DO SOMETHING. I began to plan to go places, create a busy schedule and get engaged with people and things.

In reality I was frightened that I may have to FEEL what was quietly happening inside me. DOING helps me avoid FEELING. What I felt was uncomfortable. It was frightening. It didn’t make sense. I was supposed to be happy and satisfied. I was supposed to feel joy and deep gratitude. I was supposed to count my blessings for manifesting what I desired, with serendipity and ease. But I didn’t feel any of this. Taken out of my usual DOING, I felt lonely and lost. Suddenly I was “missing” New York and an ex boyfriend I didn’t want to be with. And it was this “missing” that signaled to me that something deeper was going on. If I am missing an ex I KNEW I didn’t belong with, something was seriously off.

Then I remembered why I decided to stay longer in Bali— to access deep insights, to get some rest and quiet, to acknowledge and re-evaluate what I’ve co-created in the last super-eventful year, to check within for the direction in which I want to proceed, and to re-confirm who I want to be.

Clarity requires silence. It requires slowing down and doing less. It requires listening within, and feeling the feelings. It requires a dose of aloneness and an easy social schedule. It requires paying attention to what’s present within. It requires being with Me.

It requires letting go. It requires easy mornings, slow afternoons, short naps, long dreams and wordless being. It requires not doing. Taking it slow. Watching the flowers open up in the morning and fade by sunset. It requires paying attention to the subtle messages of animal guides: the hurried busy-ness of ants and the enviable stillness of the praying mantis visiting my porch; the insistent stare of a frog and the upside-down lizard grounded firmly onto vertical surface; the deeply dark butterfly landing on my forehead—as if inviting my thoughts to lighten up; the sudden arrival of an iridescent dragonfly; the happy grunts of the coupled pink pigs in the neighboring pit; the distant sounds of eager roosters saluting the sun…

Busy was the last thing I needed for observing and experiencing this. Yet, I wanted to be busy.  “Reach out—I tried to convince myself—go meet people and surround yourself with sounds of busy life. Schedule meetings and lunches. Fill the day with activities and movement… Do. Call. Connect. Talk. Then do more.”

I urged myself to do all these things, until I realized they would prevent me from getting clear. They would OBSTRUCT the clear revelation of next steps I was after. They would offer the ILLUSION of connection, but in fact—serve to disconnect. I did need connection. But not with the ex-boyfriend and the world as I’ve known it. I needed to connect WITH ME. It was Me I was missing.

Circling taught me how to “sit in discomfort”. It taught me to be present to what is. It taught me to observe, notice and release judgments. It trained me to remain present and “sit with” whatever it is that I feel—until it dissolves, disappears and no longer has control over me. Circling taught me TO BE WITH what is present rather than TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. It taught me non-resistance. Acceptance. Slowing down—so the desired results can speed up through newly open doors. Circling taught me to respect the process and follow what wants to unfold—effortless manifestation of the unexpected that brings joy.

So I listen to the knowing. I won’t try to figure out the next stage or make things happen.  I will ask and then listen. I will embrace the discomfort of not knowing. I will notice what wants to manifest and I’ll simply make room for it. I won’t try to force anything into existence. I will sit quietly until I see what wants to unfold next. Then I will let it. Quietly. Non-busily. Softly. Without fear. With vibrant presence and zest.

There is a reason why I am here—in this lovely house I call my home for a month. There is a reason why I manifested exactly what I am experiencing now. There is a reason why I feel what a feel, why I fear what I fear, why I’m facing precisely these aspects of myself.

The answer to “what’s next?” can only come from within. It needs no brainstorming and other people’s input. It needs quiet non-doing and deep listening.

Because when I reach myself it is easy to reach out for others. When I am connected with myself it is easy to connect with others.

Because when I have clarity I can witness and let go. I move forward. In the “right” direction. With purpose. With ease.