Saturday, February 13, 2016

Calm: A quiet space in a complicated world


Here's what we imagine family life to be: serene, calm, harmonious. At least, this is how we imagine other people's families, the ones we see in the perfect Facebook photographs. Our own families are more. . . complicated.

Family Day weekend is a good time to reflect on perfect images. As I write this, the sun is shining on bright white snow. It's also about 25 below zero (celsius). It's a great day to sit by a window.

We think that photographs tell the truth, but they only ever tell part of the truth. Words are like that too. They turn our focus to one thing, and other things disappear. Even when we use words like complicated, we miss something. There are elements in every situation that are simple, uncomplicated, true.

When you use a word like calm, you can focus on difference. Calm is not complicated, not crazy, not loud, not anxious.  Or you can simply focus on one thing that is grounded and real and clear. As you read this, you can hear that last phrase: grounded and real and clear and notice how it feels as you say it to yourself. Then you can ask yourself: "what's one thing, however tiny, that I know for sure is grounded and real and clear?" Now notice how focus on this one thing makes you feel.

And notice what I have done here: I pulled you in with a picture, but it was the gradual focus in my words that allowed your breathing to shift, your thoughts to slow down just enough so that you walk away feeling a little more calm.

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