Word of the Week

Can you remember the last time you made yourself still? I mean really still , . . .

Several months ago, I woke up restless. My pace of life felt too hectic. Everything felt too noisy. I had lots of things I thought I had to do, but no energy to do any of it. Know the feeling?

So, I crossed everything off my to-do list, got last minute help with childcare and I said "Today I'm siting." That is all. I knew my body and mind could not handle one more thing.

To sit, our word for the week: to stay in one place for a long period of time.

Today, I'm wondering about the gifts of sitting.

In Buddhism, there is a spiritual practice known as "doing a sit." It's a form of prayer involving suspending all judgmental thinking and letting words, ideas, images and thoughts pass by without getting involved in them. No fancy meditation techniques. Anyone can do it really in a quiet place.

I've always admired this practice for its encouragement to simply be. And thought about how un-American sitting is when EVERYTHING in our culture is about going, going, going, so we don't get left behind.

Yet, I think some of us only get to real sitting though when we are forced. Am I right?

I have a friend who for a time faced one crisis after another. As much as she tried to make her life happier, she couldn't. Two steps forward, five steps back. Even her wisest friends, she told me, offered her no relief. Like it or not, she was in a posture of a sit for a while. (And boy, it was hard to watch her suffer).

Yet, later when she reemerged, she told me this, "When you sit, you have to make peace with what your life is (not what you wished it would be). God lives in this place."

All I could say in response was: wow.

One of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, writes of her experience with sitting by saying this, "Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too was a gift."

Sitting is a gift. It's a gift that brings clarity about the bigger picture of life and peace in your bones.

If you find yourself in a time where you are sitting by choice (or not), I believe the time is not without value. Sitting offers you wisdom and perseverance that will serve you well as you continue on down the path.

In the meantime this week, know I'm sitting with you-



P.S. If you need some encouragement on where to begin, might I recommend this book or this book if you're the type of person that having a guide would be helpful.