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  • Maggie Wheeler

Stand Still




Life is funny.


My late mother used to say, “Be careful what you say. Someone is always listening.” By “Someone,” she meant Life or Fate. The older I get, the more I sound like my mother (not a bad thing, at all).


I was going to write this week about the power of standing still. I guess Someone was listening. I ended up this past Easter weekend dealing with a Category II catastrophe rolling through my life.


In my world, Category II means that no one got hurt or died, nothing was irrevocably lost, and life did not shut down. But even with the help of friends and family who came to the rescue, life did come to a complete standstill for 36 hours, demanding that skill of riding it out minute by minute, then hour by hour, and finally (when it is safe to catch your breath) day by day. We cannot live this way but we do survive this way. And everything that does not demand immediate and decisive action leaves the room.


All that stuff that we think is just the way it is. Non-negotiable. Life or death quality.


Just. Leaves. The. Room.


Talk about a clarifying moment.


There is a wonderful vintage Eagles song, written and sung by Don Henley, called “Learn to be Still.” I fell in love with the haunting melody and message when it first came out. Much older and hopefully wiser now, I listen and still absorb the freedom promised in the song. Just learn to be still.


It’s a muscle that we often forget to keep in shape. And then a Category II blows through. We start by asking the universe “Why me?” and over the demanding hours begin to realize that Someone was not only listening but watching out for us as well. The Category II avoided a potential Category IV or V.


And, as it blew through, it also—for a brief time—tore away in its blast all of Life’s periphery, exposing the actual ephemeral and transitory quality of things we think we cannot change, redirect or just let go.


For a few hours or days, you are given the gift of standing still.


Perhaps we can learn to do that without the Category II catastrophe.


Because standing still can make the earth move under your feet.


Talk next week,

Maggie



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