Saturday, January 9, 2016

Be Still With Your Soul

I have a dear friend.

We met almost 20 years ago in undergrad and I adore her.

She has this extraordinary way of finding the perfect moments to "show up" traditionally in the form of a phone call, sometimes on the pages of a letter, but always when I need her most.

And this is what it looked like today.

Phone rings...I'm feverishly searching for a clean or semi-clean pair of running pants and anything that resembles a bra.

"Happy New Year!  How are you?  How was your trip?  Was Santa good to you?  What's shaking this weekend?" she smiles through the phone.

I begin to lament.  "I'm having a tough time.  I purposely chose not to have a New Year's resolution or mantra.  I specifically wanted to give myself the freedom to not be tied to a list of 'have to's' only to feel guilty or defeated if/when I don't accomplish them.  And now, the only messages that I keep hearing are...those who put in the work and the rigor are the ones who rise to the top....those with a plan and the elbow grease to back it up will reap the rewards...we're not getting any younger...there's no time like the present...your jeans have no more wiggle room...are you living the life you chose or are you living the life that chose you?"

Big gulp.  I can hear her sucking down her coffee and the kids screaming in the background.

She takes a deep breath.

"Jesus Christ.  All of things you're supposed to do are exhausting me and I'm on the other side of the country.  Have you tried just being still for a second before you conquer the world?"

"That's the problem.  By sitting and trying to enjoy the present, I'm not getting shit done while simultaneously getting fatter by the minute."

"I think the reason that you can't fully commit to any one piece of your fabulous life is that you're tired and you're passionate and you need to get behind that which is going to ignite your bones and you can't possibly know what that is until you stop and breathe and trust that with enough quiet, it will come."

Holy fuck.

I hung up the phone with her and went for a run.  I played this song among others and tried to stay in touch with my breath and my heart beating and the fullness of my legs.

And remembered her final words..."the scoop is...just because everyone else chose January 1st as their deadline to know what the focus of their new year would be...doesn't mean that has to be your path.  Cool people evolve.  They don't stay wedded to the thing that they declared the day or month before.  But you can't change or go surging toward that thing that makes your heart sing if you keep charging toward the old.  And the only way to squarely know the new is to be still and see where your soul takes you.  Happy New Year..."

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