Turning Off the Chatter


June 4, 2021 – Sometimes you just need to turn off the words — and the thoughts. A hammock is a great place for that. Mine swings just feet from the shoreline. Sometimes I come here to read and sometimes to think. If I stay here long enough, the words and thoughts stop…and I just swing.

The old Finns of my childhood had a saying: “Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.” They were wiser than I thought back then. “Just sitting” is underrated today. Have you noticed how almost everyone is “so busy!“? It doesn’t seem to matter if they have children, or not…a job, or not…obligations, or not. “Busy-ness” is a worn like a badge of honor. Listen to the conversations. Doesn’t it sound like a competition sometimes?

I used to be busy too. For decades, I worked 60-70 hours a week. I was capable, productive, admired, and promoted. I did try to achieve that thing called “life balance” by jamming my family, social, spiritual, fitness, community, and recreational goals into the left-over spaces. I even tried to schedule meditation time!

People used to ask how I did it all. These days, I wonder that too. I also wonder why I was so driven. It’s a good quality, of course – but if allowed to run amuck, it can drive out other good qualities. Self-awareness, for example.

These days, I make time for stillness. It’s still not natural, but it gets easier with practice. Now that we’re moving forward to build a cabin here, it’s harder than it was — and even more important. I do forget about my hammock for days at a time. Then I notice it swaying in the breeze, and answer that inner call to “just sit.” Turn off the inner chatter. Just look. Listen. Breathe. Just….be.

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