The weather is forcing me inside…to a place where it’s warm, and inward, to a place where I go for illumination.
Sometimes, I hibernate in this place, my inner sanctuary, for a long time. Other times, I move in and out like a gypsy….pitching tent, picking up, pitching tent and picking up again. And other times, I’m like a tourist, an outsider visiting parts unknown. But I always find something of value, no matter how I journey.
Sometimes, when I journey inward, I don’t even know what I’m looking for in that moment. Maybe respite from a stressful day. Maybe treasure, ancient wisdom buried deep within my soul.
Sometimes, I travel for miles, dazed, confused, directionless and purposeless, in search of a roadmap. In these times, I have no idea where I am headed….but I know I am hearing whispers from my soul, like a sweet lullaby, guiding me home.
Sometimes I wish I could hear better.
It takes great discipline to slow down so I can hear what is percolating on the inside, what is trying to be born into this outer world, or set free to roam.
I am learning (though begrudgingly at times) the soul’s schedule is not my own. I am learning there are times when I need the strength to be still and do nothing.
One of my favorite lines in the ancient Chinese classic, the Tao Te Ching, asks, “Do you have the strength to do nothing until the mud settles?”
In the Western world, we value action, movement, pace, getting the words on the page before the thoughts are even crystallized in some cases, hurry, hurry, blur, white noise….output…over stillness.
Don’t get me wrong, action is always necessary at some point. In the end, it is the only way things come to life. But sometimes, the mud has to settle first so you know the right answer, or what is being called forth from the recesses of the soul, to know what is dying to be born.
If you’re in this place, in the mud, have the strength to stay there a little longer if you need to. Pitch a tent and stay. When the mud clears, you just might be surprised by what you find.