a restlessness inside a stillness inside a restlessness.

“I am a restlessness inside a stillness inside a restlessness.”  so says Cassandra Mortmain.  she was thinking and feeling a lot of Big Things – God, unrequited love, service to others.   I keep hearing those words echoing back at me lately.

I can’t seem to stay still these days.  I can’t finish a book or a movie or even a television show.  I clean the kitchen and fold the laundry and slice the onions until there are tears in my eyes, I can’t get any peace unless I am moving, working, making something with my hands.

but at the center of all that restlessness is a certain quiet.  and I am listening for it.  all the action and movement is a kind of moving meditation – it’s like I can only hear the quiet when I am spinning around in circles.

what am I listening for?  I am listening to hear myself, I think.  to suss out the next direction my soul wants to grow.  to pick out the big rocks from the sand and pebbles, to determine what’s important to me, right now.  not what has been important, or what will be – but what is important right at this very moment.

I keep coming into the spare room, the place where our little fellow will have a crib and baskets of clothes and super mario decals on the light blue walls, and I know that my soul is growing towards him.  getting ready to have a new baby.

I’ve got a pencil and a vision of a bunny-and-flower-garden mural to paint over the walls of my little girl’s room and I know that my soul is growing with her, every day as she gets older and bigger, dressing herself and pouring me cups of imaginary tea and lining up her baby dolls in a row.

my family, my rocks.

where else does my soul want to grow?

I am turning thirty this year and it seems impossible that by April, I will have two children, a home.  that I will have loved my husband for ten years.  that I will have had the same Chevrolet Cavalier for ten years.  that in the past four years, I have logged two-hundred and thirty thousand words of short little stories and longer little stories, little practice pots that taught me how I like to write, what I want to write about, what the inside of me sounds like when I type it out and translate it from heartbeats into words.

I’m not scared of thirty – I’m sort of amazed by it.  it seems like all those years of my twenties were just the bends in the road to get me here.  with the babies I always dreamed of and a garden of skills I’ve cultivated and a handful of seed packets ready to sow.  what am I going to plant in the next ten years?


2 thoughts on “a restlessness inside a stillness inside a restlessness.

  1. In my first karate class, this was referred to as “active meditation,” through which stillness could be found even at the center of a flurry of motion. We were taught to see in ourselves a still, quiet center, while still possessing our full capacity to actively engage with our surroundings, taking our inner stillness and channeling it outwards with a resounding strength of will and purpose. Whenever I was kicking, I was meditating. Whenever I was punching, I felt still. To this day, this persists. If I ever want to center myself quickly, I go outside and — in a manner that might be interpreted by an observer as aggressively — give the air some rapid punch and kick combos. I never feel calmer. It’s how I learned to center myself. There’s no reason meditation must be physically still! You are present wherever you are, no matter what you are doing, and how actively you are doing it.

    I believe the term may be “dynamic meditation” now. In any case, it’s a good way to keep track of yourself, and of what you want, and how you feel. Sounds to me like you’ve tapped into something great, Jenny!


    1. I like the term dynamic meditation! I took dance classes from a teacher who studied in Turkey and she had had us practice a moving meditation where we focused on on one palm and spun slowly in circles. It still helps calm me down and focus!


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