Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sitting Still


One of my special talents is being able to sit very still.  Try not to be jealous.  Some people have it and some people don't.  *shrugs*  I guess I am just blessed.  I always knew I could sit very still, but I didn't always know it was a talent.  How do I know it is now?  Because I have observed that some people cannot sit very still.

There is a poem by Richard Church that I used to read sometimes when I was younger and it always, always has stuck with me.  I think about it a lot, and I finally dug it out to share with you.  Feeling special?

Sitting in silence,
Waiting for things to happen!
There's something in silence,
Waiting for things to happen,
    That gathers drama.
Maybe a leaf falls,
Or a raindrop will deepen
The tint of a stone:
A honeybee stumbles
Among foxglove stalls.
A proud spirit humbles
Itself to this humour;
The life of the sod,
The root, the sky,
The quietly known
Presence of God.

Sitting still is handy for things like reading, getting tan, and sitting through church.  Incidentally, it also makes my job bearable.  The best part, for me, is that sitting still facilitates writing, the greater part of which is, you guessed it, sitting still and staring into space.  Thinking.  It looks a lot like doing nothing, but it isn't. 

You could do all sorts of things while sitting still--watch a movie, knit a scarf, play scrabble, get checked for glaucoma.  But if you were really, really still, like me, you'd pretty much just be digesting and thinking.  Sometimes, when I was really depressed, aka sleep deprived, I could even do it without thinking.

And anyway, I was thinking today about that Psalm, Be still and know that I am God.

And I was thinking how even for me, someone who is very good at sitting still, sometimes this is very hard to do.  I think it's because the Psalm refers to an inner stillness, the kind you can have even when you're running the carpool or doing the grocery shopping.  The kind you can have when you're up in the night with a baby or rushing kids off to the school bus.  The kind you can have when you're dodging your way to class or driving in rush hour traffic.  You get the idea.

You got your yoga and your Thai Chi and your Chai tea, your meditation and your ohms.  Sure, they may help you get there, but all you really need to know is who you are.  Which reminds me of one of my own poems, which I have also dug out for you today.

I am convoluted in my head

Amid the complex mess
of strange and likely useless information
lies the single truth,
the tiny north star of the mind,
the anchor.

I sense it in the center there:

a brilliant white diamond dot,
the twinkle in the eye of happiness,
the reflection of white so light,
the first spark of sunrise brightly
rising from the cloaking of the night.

It stands amid the whirl of daily convolution:

the peace of knowing of the tiny ember glowing
with the colossal love of God.

Find some time to sit still today, hmm?

3 comments:

Kristin Sokol said...

If anyone is wondering if she is exagerating her ability to sit very, very still, unnaturally still, she's not.

She's my best friend folks, since we were children and sometimes I still wonder if she's turned into a statue on me. She might.

Loved your thoughts on this. I really loved your poem. I even got it.

Stephanie said...

Maybe you can teach me to sit still. The only thing I don't like about writing is that I can't multi-task it with all the other things I wanna/have-ta do.

PS - Not only am I a slacker, I'm a scatter brain too. I totally spaced tagging you in my review... so, I'm off to do it now! :)

www.lmlong.com said...

I can tell you it definitely is a talent- still life in art was always difficult because I have the opposite problem. I am always moving. I was always enamored with those subjects that could pose for unnaturally long amounts of time without flinching. I thought this was a beautiful post.