On my walk to work today I listened to an episode of On Being that was a conversation from 2016 between Krista Tippett and the poet David Whyte. About 10 minutes in, as a precursor to reciting his poem Everything is Waiting for You, Whyte said:
we have so many allies in this world, including just the color blue in the sky, which we’re not paying attention to, or the breeze or the ground beneath our feet.
I have to be honest, although the rest of the episode played on, I wasn’t giving it my full attention. I was too hung up on these words and how they made me feel.
I looked up to the blue sky above me, with barely a cloud in sight. My world felt vast. I turned my attention to the feeling of the solid concrete under my feet. I felt supported. Safe.
I know the benefits of feeling connected to the world around me, of grounding myself, and feeling a sense that I’m part of something bigger (sympatheia is what the Stoics call it). But, I haven’t had a hook that calls me back, or reminds me of this connection. Now I do. It’s the idea that when I need it most these things will be there, without fail, to support me and lift me up.
I’m a member of a community who meet for daily mindfulness and journaling sessions. I host one session every week too and in this capacity it’s also my responsibility to contribute to the prompt schedule. This week we’re using quotes as prompts for our reflections. Writing in response to these quotes is something I had planned to do personally, to breathe life into this blog, and I decided to share them with the group too.
Today’s quote is...
Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
— Lao Tzu
When I first came across this quote (in Dense Discovery #181) I felt a response to it physically. A jolt. A lightning bolt. As I repeated it again and again in my head trying to distil its essence, and its lesson, I settled on the line that things will happen when the time is right.
I think the reason these words stopped me in my tracks is because I know I have a tendency to want to be further ahead with things than I am. When I set my mind on doing something, I feel a pull, an urgency and I want it to be done... yesterday.
What is the rush? Where are the benefits of hurrying to get things done? What can be gained from slowing down and paying attention to the process?
The longer I sit with this quote, the more layers emerge. In this morning’s session I was thinking about the various cycles in nature. Sunrise and sunset. The tides. The seasons. Migration. Metamorphosis. They happen without fail. Again and again. There’s no rush. No fuss. And yet again I came back to thinking about the routines in my own life. How they help me stay calm and balanced. How they help me to slow down.
I’ve got far more to explore on this topic than I have time for today. And so I’m taking a lesson from Lao Tzu. I’ll not hurry it. I’ll sit awhile longer and ponder it. And come back another day.