In many ways, I’ve been front-lining my life the last few years. I’ve been in the trenches of my own being.
I’ve charged ahead over many landscapes and vast fields. The field of endings and the confusion and clinging that often accompanies them. The landscape of new beginnings and the uncertainty and excitement that come along with them. I’ve rushed through and forced something—anything—to be next. I also lingered at that place in between, that liminal space, that point that is not an end or a beginning. It’s the edge of both.
So much of it felt like a battle. I’ve yielded a formidable sword against it all.
I’ve been a devoted warrior, hoping that every fight strengthens me for my future. I’ve been a dedicated student, trying to trust that no matter how challenging or painful a lesson is, it transforms into healing wisdom for me. I have faced inner and outer enemies who were Goliath. In the face of giants, my five-foot-one self didn’t back down or look for an escape.
For so long, I’ve relied solely on the trinity of hard work, grit, and relentlessness.
This holy trinity has served me well and, at the same time, left me weary and tired. My little slingshot is broken. The handle of my sword is worn. I put down my armor. In this place of bone-deep exhaustion, I surrender and lay down. There is a time and place to push, hustle, and grind. I’ve always lived my life in that way and from that place. Perhaps you have too. Yet, here I am in a new place. To access the wisdom needed now, I must be still. A movement is coming, and, first, we must be still.
Now is no ordinary moment in time. Now is a place of startling individual and collective endings. Now is the space before something else becomes. Now is both a promise and fulfillment of fresh beginnings. The sacred cycle of being human seems to be speeding up. For many, we assume the remedy is to match that speed. As we become more and more exhausted, anxious, and disillusioned with trying to keep up with an inhumane pace, it is apparent that all of the battling, the swiftness, and the forging ahead brought me—brought us—collectively to this moment.
This moment where we are perhaps finally ready to listen for a new rhythm and tune.
Listen. We are descending into quiet. Being thrown into it, really. I hear a sound so striking in its silence that it has displaced us all. It has put us in our place.
From Pause, Rest, Be: Stillness Practices for Courage in Times of Change by Octavia F. Raheem © 2022 by Octavia F. Raheem. Reprinted in arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. For more information visit www.pauserestbe.com