My Try Something New today: contentment in enforced restfulness.
The story of my past few days has allowed for some enforced restfulness. What I have learned is that as much as I say I want a peaceful and quiet and tranquil life in the midst of my self-made chaos . . . there is another part of me that craves the hub-bub, the drama, the go-go-go, the challenges at work, the randomness of just wandering with no projected outcomes, the movement that gives me inspiration to create and to laugh and to love.
This enforced restfulness has given me time to just be with me. And it has been nice. And it has also been not so nice. The nice parts have given me an opportunity to observe and take note of what runs through my mind when I am not thinking of what I am going to do next. I am just being in the Now. Just chilling and petting the cat and figuring out inversions on the piano and stir-frying onions and garlic with asparagus and having long conversations on the phone with my sisters . . . this sort of thing. I have been focusing on the simple and important things that get nudged aside or that get squeezed into the day.
The thing that has been rather bittersweet has been realizing truly how little time I create for being with me. I find that I often am so busy projecting my light outward, I don’t replenish the source of this light within. Again, not necessarily a bad thing . . . but the words of my mum come to mind: Moderation in everything. I think I have been putting too much time into outward and not into inward.
In high school art class, I was given a calligraphy assignment. I was to find a proverb or quote and write it using the calligraphy style of my choice. Wanting it to be perfect and vintage-y, I procrastinated and I remember spending more time ultimately looking for a short quote that would satisfy the assignment than I did practicing my lettering. The quote was short, but compelling. I knew it had a lot to say, even though I wasn’t quite certain what it exactly meant at the time. It reads: “Contentment is the absence of selfish ambition.” Quite the dose of profundity in only seven words. No wonder it befuddled my teen-aged mind. It still sort of does.
What this enforced restfulness has done is it has slowed me to a place of seeking contentment. By replenishing, I have refilled the lamp, trimmed the wick, and polished up the chimney. How is my little light going to shine if I don’t take the time to fill the lamp?
I also know that this time to myself has created deep appreciation for all of those people who shine their light my way — for their “absence of selfish ambition” — for sharing who they are with me so selflessly.
Am I committed to take more time to just think and to be and to not be doing all of the time? Yes. Am I ready to resume my days at the speed of light? Yes. But this has been good. Good for realizing that I am paying attention and wanting a life with a balance of contentment that generates and receives light and that puts a smile back into my soul and that not just enforces restfulness but embraces it as well.