Days ago, I headed to a nature park nearby. The sunset was coming in, casting a radiant reflection on the reservoir water. Swallows were circling above the water, a dance you might say, to celebrate another day. The swaying trees and rustling leaves. The steady and gentle breeze.
“How could anyone see this and not choose to sit?” And so I sat.
I sat on a clear grass patch taking it all in while many jogged briskly past me. So many people were running. And too little who chose to sit.
In fact, I was the only one sitting.
I do see busyness is very much like a badge of honor. I observe the subtle toll it takes on me. Not just the physical toll but an emotional and mental one. When I took a deliberate extended break last year and I had people asking me, “What are you busy with these days?” How assuming and leading was that question, yet it sounded absolutely normal and acceptable to ask.
And I had to notice how difficult it was to say, “Nothing” and to add no more explanation to that. It felt like a bear is wrenching my heart out and the mind went into overdrive to ‘rescue’ the shame emerging within. It was coming up with all kinds of justifications.
“For how could I or anyone not be busy?”
“A destination is a must, how else can we be motivated?”
“Tasks keep us going, god forbid we do nothing.”
“A finishing line to make it all worthwhile.”
“What value can there be if I just sit?”
Yet so many of us say it with bitterness and resentment.
“I am busy.” We are proud of it but we don’t like it. When we do say it, it tends to be more of an exasperated cry or a please-don’t-bother-me-cry. I have begun to see it as a cry for compassion, understanding, and non-judgment. We long for permission to rest, chill and be at ease. Yet we forget that permission is not coming from anywhere. Permission is granted within. And sometimes I think all people need is a reminder.
Because on that beautiful evening, when I sat on the grass while everyone else was running. People began to notice. An elderly man gazed at me, stood still awkwardly for a while, and finally decided to sit too. A couple of young lads also stopped and eventually frolicked in the water. My husband finished his run, and I beckoned him to sit with me. We sat in silence and the moment was full.
Many take time to run, and too few deliberately take time to sit. We think we are catching more of life when we try to squeeze in as many things as possible. But really… life rushes by when we rush.
Maybe the path of life is longer and more meaningful when thread gently. And it can start with you. It just takes one person to begin. To be.
When one person allows life to sit with him or her; somehow others will begin to lean in too. We are naturally drawn to life; it’s in our nature to be with life.
We are life.