As I saddled up and headed out the door, there was something inside of me wondering what was allowing me to keep moving. With a last look at my big city apartment, I walked out and let the door slam behind me. I wasn’t exactly sure what was moving me, what was allowing me to take each and every step closer to a flight & new life overseas.
Upon my arrival, I’ve been blank. A part of me has felt lost. I knew that I had come back home for a reason. There has been a gut feeling that here, I would find something that would make me a better person, a better writer, but what? In cocktails and events, I’ve looked for it in people. Perhaps, there was a brillance at the bottom of the cups we were all consuming? No. I’ve looked for it in work. Perhaps there was something of monumental importance to discover in one of my meetings. Again, no. I looked for it in my workouts, but… sh*t, no.
Today, as I got up for a new meditative prayer group, I decided to check my email and to my surprise, an old friend had sent me an article about writing titled The Art of Being Still. The article went on to discuss how aspiring writers did very little writing; so much time is spent on the wanting, but very little is spent on the sitting still and writing. You avoid being still, I thought. The accusation sat with me the whole way to the group and when I sat down, I forgot where I was. I finally reconnected with that girl that had been a city girl just a few days ago. I remembered what it felt like to be me, not what it felt like to be me … here. And then is smacked me like a frisbee in a park—I had gone to New York to grow up, but I had come home to be still. I was somehow wise enough to know that there was no other place that I could be as still as I could be here. A sense of purpose flushed over me and the anxieties that I had made a mistake slipped off ever so gently. I just needed to be quiet. I needed to focus. I needed to rest. There was an opportunity to find a new sense of peace here, but it was so subtle and quiet of an invitation that I had missed it.
When the group discussions began, I walked over to my mentor hoping to tell her about my discovery. As she heard me out, she asked if she could tell me a story. I sat down to listen: Once upon a time, there was a group of little devils gathered for a meeting, a board of directors meeting, where they were discussing—in all seriousness, where they could hide “personal peace” to assure that humans would not find it—allowing for them to keep business booming. One, possibly the smartest of the bunch, stood up and suggested that they hide “personal peace” on the highest peaks known to man. Others soon followed, shouting a variety of life-threatening and dreadful places: the most dangerous of craters, the deepest abyss, and the scariest and darkest of caves. The eldest of the group looked somewhat pleased; all of the suggestions were being considered, until suddenly a little devil stood up and said, “I know where we can put it.” Everyone quickly turned to hear him as he said, ” I know a place where they will never look. Hide their peace inside of each and everyone of them and I assure you they will never find it. They will search for it high and low. They will go to the highest of mountains, the darkest of caves, and the fight through the most treacherous of storms, but they will never think to look inside.”
I’ve spent the rest of the day thinking about this message, trying to digest it, apply it, even letting it marinate. I’ve been thinking about the constant search for purpose and approval outside of ourselves. All I can tell you is this… we need to define our own standards of happiness, of sadness, of anger, of tragedy… and if we take cues from other people, we really won’t ever know our own. Each of us carries a different story, different pain, a different view and if (and when) we guide ourselves by someone else’s standards, well, I guess I would dare to say that we will never have the pleasure of understanding our own story.
The other funny thing about finding inner peace is that no one can go with you. I thought that was cool. To me, that was a very important message because though we are all in this together, we’re each responsible for a different adventure, that no one else can take.
In the end, my friend and the little devil were both right. Few of us dare to venture inwards for I guess it must be the darkest of places before it can become the brightest.