The following essay is my attempt at answering The Sandbox Writing Challenge — Exercise 3 on stillness. A question that I did not misread, honestly. 😬
Plato once scribbled in his written works that: “…to talk every day about virtue and the other things about which you hear me talking and examining myself and others is the greatest good to man, and that the unexamined life is not worth living…”
What is it that keeps you from being still?
MY EYE, MY STORM
Kelvin M. Knight
The answer to this question is straightforward: it is not being able to cycle or weight train, not being able to listen to people, not writing for people, not finding the right time to pray. Strange as this answer may seem, please allow me tell you why this is the case…
There is a stillness I find in cycling that is rather appealing. The faster or harder (uphill or against the wind) I cycle, the more this stillness becomes me. Similarly when I resist gravity using chunks of metal for as many repetitions and as many sets as I can. Conversely, when I am walking the dogs and start pondering something I tend to walk slower. A particularly ponderous issue might grind my dog walking to a halt. Thankfully one dog pulls and the other whimpers in a high-pitched and rather annoying manner if I, or anyone walking him, dares to stand still.
I take this mental stillness I get while cycling into those times I set aside for quiet reflection and internal or extemporary prayer. I try to do each of these activities daily. I would like to do them more often, after all most of us do eat three times a day – whether we sit still while we are eating is a whole new ball game – and we do stop for copious tea and coffee breaks. Well, we should at least have two a day. Shouldn’t we?
Listening promotes stillness. Listening actively encourages humility which helps me to gently hold on to this peaceful place and show the person I am listening to that I care compassionately about them. Hopefully they feel some of the peace I experience too, especially when I can offer it silently and freely to them.
Writing, strangely enough, also instils stillness. Even though words may pour from my fingertips. Even though I may be trapped in that fictive dream. Within this storm of emotions – that I am trying to capture and let slide through the reader’s mind straight to their heart – there is an eye. The eye of the storm. A place of perfect stillness. A place of faith.
And I enclose a prayer that came to me this morning after I opted out of Wednesday’s morning prayer session offered twice a week by my local church. Staying inside church, I strode down to the lady chapel and, uncannily, felt these words floating inside my head as I prayed alone. Which was before looking at this latest Sandbox exercise, truly!
🙏🏻 Heavenly Father
When I feel like a leaf tossed around in the wind, thank you for reminding me it is your wind, your breath.
When my eyes are stung by these tears welling inside me, when it feels as though a thunderstorm is brewing within and without me, thank you for reminding me how your son calmed the storm because of His faith.
Faith with love can move mountains. This faith you kindly bestowed upon me when I was ready, coupled with this love you generously offer everyone, unconditionally, should be more than enough to move me.
Move me when I dig in my heels.
Move me when I refuse to budge.
Move me when I cling onto a grudge.
Move me when I am being still and quiet for all the wrong reasons.