All of my life, I’ve been seeking something that has consistently and near-completely eluded me; it’s something that I have written about wanting, something that sent me to meditation, yoga, religion, and long bouts of solitude; it’s something that I’ve ardently chased, held in my mind as evidence of a life well-lived, and dearly craved, but it continues to elude me. As soon as I’ve gotten it in my sights, tip-toed toward it with an eager heart, and watched the light dancing off of its shiny hide, it has always bolted away with a puff of air and I’m left in a daze, wondering what the hell just happened.
What is this thing that I’ve wanted so desperately and which gets away from me every time?
Peace has eluded me. Or, I guess, in order to take full responsibility, I ought to say that I have not chosen peace. I have not chosen rest. I have not chosen serenity in this life, all things that I claim to want. Oh, I’ve certainly had moments of peace, but largely, my life has been a sh*t-storm of activity, drive, action, fire, feeling, and momentous energy.
For example, I’ve worked 80 to 90-hour weeks for the last 24 years. I’ve started three companies and run them, single-handed. I’ve written a book and been published lots of times in magazines, newspapers, and poetry periodicals. I’ve worked two and three jobs simultaneously. Hell, I survived a horrendous childhood, went through years of therapy, and have largely eclipsed the pain and horror in which I was immersed. I’ve worked and worked and worked and worked. I’ve had little peace.
In the midst of the firestorm that is my daily existence, I have deeply yearned, begged, and wished for peace. Just a little. Peace from my relentless thoughts, my fire-temper, my passions, my ego, my intellect, my libido, my exhaustive, constant, and voracious emotions. On and on and on. But, sweet peace flits away with its serene countenance, inscrutable expression, and captivating secrets.
OK. It’s time for a deep, restful breath, time to gently wipe away the angst, draw myself up, suck in some delicious oxygen, and become empty. My ego protests: “But, HOW? You’ve never been able to do this. You can’t do it. It’s futile!” To which I smile, pat my ego on the head, and say “Relax, dear. All we’re going to do is nothing for part of each day. We’re going to sit and do nothing.”
Becoming empty has to be the way toward peace for me because it’s the last thing my ego wants me to do and maybe the only thing that I have not tried. Granted, I’m writing all of this on the brink of taking on even more projects so this is going to be a real challenge for me, but I have to try. I have to become empty. I have to let go. This means: Work less. Push less. Do less. Share less. Grasp less. Added to this: I have to sit still. Stay centered. Stay inward. Stay silent. Stay present. Breath more. Rest more.
What can I learn from becoming empty? What can I hope to accomplish? What will it do for me? These questions are thrown out on their ears. It doesn’t matter. Guess what? All that matters is:
- Sweet, suspended moments where I’m still, staying present in my body, feeling the contours of my chair or standing solidly in my legs.
- Moments where I’m pulling in my core, not projecting myself outward to others, pulling in, pulling in, pulling in, holding, breathing, feeling the thoughts and emotions softly float through me and then not attaching to them, letting them go.
- What matters is emptying my mind, emptying my body, draining my stress into the receiving earth, opening my rib cage, flushing energy up or down and then out.
Where will I land? Will I buy a house in Peaceville? I don’t know. But, at this moment in time. I want to want nothing. I want to want stillness. I want to want emptiness. I want peace and then, I want to stop wanting it. 🙂