Charles Dickens starts The Tale of Two Cities by saying, “It was the best of times, the worst of times...” It makes me think of these perilous times of major uncertainty and the importance of finding peace and centers of refuge.
Level-headedness is essential to maintaining a sense of balance as we navigate the abrupt storms on the high seas of life. We must weather these swift changes and the use of good sound mother-wit can serve as a great aid. I often think of Rudyard Kipling’s poem, If. He wrote:
“If you can keep your head when all about you. Are losing theirs and blaming it on you.”
When things seem to be spiraling out of control all around us, there is still that calm center waiting there in the midst. It would behoove us to hunker down and cleave to it with all of our might.
Most of us have a place in our homes where we can get quiet. We may have to minimize the use of social media and the news reports, so our clear thoughts allow our intuition to kick in and point the way. When there is no music, no television and no silly chatter, we can get in touch with our true selves. Our thinking crystalizes like a newly-washed drinking glass and the old, muddled ways of thinking are flushed down the drain.
Life is like walking a tight rope so we carefully place one foot in front of the other. We don’t have the luxury of looking too far down the road to see what is coming because we could lose our equilibrium. We must take slow, decided steps.
I read a lot because while reading, I must be still. I am not bouncing and flitting around and spinning my wheels. It may be an e-book or a regularly printed book but I quiet my thoughts and gain new perspectives at the same time. I worry less and become like a lily of the field. “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.” (Matthew 6:28)
Cooking also defuses my anxiety. As I chop each chip of an onion or a bell paper, clarity seeps in and answers to my concerns trickle onto the scene. More light is emitted, and I see things from other points of view. Einstein said, “The problems we face today cannot be solved by the minds that created them.” Yes, it takes new mindsets to solve those old dilemmas.
Spirit is always nudging and guiding us, but if we are distracted, we miss the directions that can help us. When attuned, we can hear the warning signs that say, “Don’t go that way today or don’t call that person today.” Later, we may discover that a disaster has indeed been averted because we adhered to that still, small voice.
Traveling on our personal paths is a methodical process and the Chinese proverb reminds us that, “A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.” Each single step can lead to more peace and greater understanding if we walk mindfully and take serene reprieves to gather our bearings and stay the course!
Lynn M. August 10, 2019