Running to Stand Still


Here is a piece I wrote for the Until My Soul Gets It Right (The Bibliophiles: Book Two) blog tour this past fall. It originally appeared on a great blog, Empty Nest. I thought it was particularly apropos for this time of year.

The other day, I was listening to U2’s masterpiece, “The Joshua Tree,” which I hadn’t heard in quite some time. Lately, most of the music in the house has belonged to my sons, but now with one off for his freshman year at college and the other back in junior high, I can once again reclaim the soundtrack of my days.

The song “Running to Stand Still” came on, and I paused to listen, struck by that simple, yet powerful phrase.

Running to stand still.

How many of us are guilty of that? Of going and going and going in hopes of someday being able to finally relax and breathe a bit?

There is always so much to do, an overwhelming list of grocery shopping, working, holidays/parties, exercising, laundry, paying the bills, cleaning, or running incessant errands. I don’t know about you, but I am tired.

This list is compounded by the Internet. In these plugged-in days with email, texting, instant messages, Twitter, Facebook and the rest, the willpower to ignore that little gnat-like, nagging voice urging us to check online just one more time is incredibly important.

An article in the July 16th Newsweek warned that being online too much might actually be creating biological changes in our brains. And not for the better. The article stated that “The current incarnation of the Internet—portable, social, accelerated, and all-pervasive—may be making us not just dumber or lonelier but more depressed and anxious, prone to obsessive-compulsive and attention-deficit disorders, even outright psychotic.”

Running to stand still.

I’m trying to incorporate a small part of stillness into my life every day in my quest to achieve a better balance. Being a writer/editor, I live on deadlines and the adrenaline rush that accompanies them, so this is not an easy task.

Whether it is taking the time to meditate (or in my case, attempting to meditate), having a cup of tea (THAT I can do!), or lighting a lavender candle and enjoying its scent, make some time to just be. Listen to the wind rustle through the trees. Lie down under a tree and look up at the sky through its ethereal leaves. Watch rain or snowflakes trickle down from the sky.

These actions can free us from feeling like we are hamsters stuck on Habitrail wheels, our minds frantically figuring out what is next on the great “To Do” list of life.

What steps have you taken to incorporate stillness into your life?

Dokoupil, Tony. “Is the Onslaught Making Us Crazy?” Newsweek 16 July 2012: 24-30. Print.


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