Updated: Oct 19, 2019
Last weekend while on vacation, my husband wanted to go fly fishing one morning. Having spent a lot of time fantasizing about peacefully reading a book by the river while my husband fished, I couldn’t wait to go with him. We hiked down to a quiet and incredibly serene spot.
As I got myself situated I realized I honestly didn’t feel like reading. I hadn’t slept well the night before and trying to retain information was futile. So I decided to meditate instead. Here I am completely calm and still with no distraction, the perfect setting for inspiration and guidance to come through... but I had no thoughts, no feelings, just stillness. My mind had received the memo that this was a place for rest and relaxation, and decided to take a break. Ironically, this annoyed the hell out of me.
That’s when I remembered something I learned about myself while on my solo excursion this past spring- I tend to obsess over making the most of time and opportunities. Here I have the time and space to read or write, to consume content or create it - I had better make the most of it and do one, if not both of those things.
I have this peaceful place I must use it to ponder some deep life question, or realize some profound truths. Right?!
As I noticed my agitation with this lack of being productive I decided to surrender to it. I’m going to DO nothing. I’m just going to BE.
Have you ever tried this? Its no easy task. Especially in our world of perpetual distraction and productivity, resisting the urge to DO and choosing to just BE, is VERY uncomfortable.
Pema Chodron writes about this experience of sitting with the heat of discomfort, the heat of stillness, the heat of feeling our feelings and of avoiding hitting the easy button of distraction, of running away, of numbing. She calls this, the journey of the warrior.
That day by the river I went on the journey of the warrior. I just sat there. Over time I realized I was noticing things I would have missed if I’d been doing something.
I watched winged beings land and take off again. I listened to the river flow, the songs of different birds, I realized I could even hear the whip of Grants fishing line. I noticed the different places of warmth on my skin as the sun moved through the sky. I was still enough for a butterfly to land on. I became part of the landscape.
The journey of the warrior is a practice. Pema writes that if today you sat in the heat of stillness for 1.6 seconds, when yesterday you couldn’t even do it for a full second - you’re making progress on your journey.
That day by the river I sat with nature, simply BEING, for an hour. Eventually I fell asleep, and when I woke I had a flood of inspiration. The thing I had been desperately seeking was handed to me, as if in recognition of my willingness to BE, for releasing my desperation and trading it for contentment.
This week I encourage you to practice the journey of the warrior. Resist the urge to DO and simply BE with yourself, no distractions, even if just for a few moments. Then see if you can do it for a moment longer the next day.
Blessings to you on your journey. May you discover strength and determination you never knew you had.
With love and gratitude,