Be Still

There’s this weird light in the middle of the night. It’s a different dark from the just post sunset twilight, or the pre-dawn haze. There’s a depth to it that you can just sense somehow without even looking at the clock. File this under things I wish I didn’t know, but it’s true. I seem to be waking up quite a bit in what my Mom has always called the wee small hours of the night. Those little hours that stretch long, during which those thoughts that seemed mostly manageable in the light of day become large, lumbering, unwieldy giants. And once they’ve fumbled their way in, boy is it tough to evict them.

It starts with, there are those 15 (by which I mean 50) e-mails I still haven’t answered, travels downward to why am I always so behind, and lands at what am I actually doing with my life? Because at 2:00am it’s a surprisingly linear path from unanswered e-mail to the general trajectory of your life. And then sometimes in the weird, dark, restless, middle of the night downward spirals you vividly picture of one of your favorite writer’s wrists.

Let me explain, I mentioned last week that I had recently listened to a podcast with Glennon Doyle Melton. She talked a lot about the idea of being still. How learning to just sit with things: the good, the bad, the restless, had been such a transformative experience for her. How life-changing this idea of not constantly running and going was for her. So much so that she tattooed the words be still on her wrist as a reminder. Which is what I saw there in the middle of the night. The image of her wrist adorned with those words in black ink. And so I focused intently on them. And when my mind tried to continue the decent down that 2:00am hill of doubt and insecurity, I just refocused, again and again and again.

Until I was still.

4 thoughts on “Be Still

  1. Boy, have I been there, Mary Chris! Awake at 2am seems to magnify every thought you ever had, the be still, deep breathing, do help…. Check out mindfulness I think you will find that helpful also…. Sweet Dreams, Bonnie

    • It does, doesn’t it! And yes, mindfulness! I’m actually going to be doing mindfulness exercises with students in a class I’m teaching this fall- I think I’m just as excited about doing it myself, as introducing it to them. One of the resources I have on my list is a meditation for sleep… I’ll have to check that one out. (Thanks for the reminder.)

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