The Wisdom to Stay Still

The Wisdom to Stay Still July 1, 2014

Moving slowly and listening deeply are common practices for a Sabbath day. Lately, however, I seem to be in seven-days-a-week period of deep listening and moving at about twenty percent of my normal, double or triple-tasking speed.

The nagging voices in my head are quick to point out how ridiculous it is that I am doing so little when I have a book to market, blogs to write, friends—some in very difficult situations—to visit and a hurting world all around me.

I know that voice: the good, responsible voice that fits right in with business as usual.

I don’t want business as usual. I seek to live into the new.

I am in the middle of several amazing conversations and partnerships across huge chasms of race, class and gender. It is the hardest work I’ve ever done. And it is the most transformative and joyful work I’ve ever done. I look forward to the time when I can write about the details of this work.

For today, here is what I know: the only way I can continue to walk this path is to honor my guidance to slow down, listen, ponder, spend a few minutes each morning tending to our garden before heading out on a walk, and wait for the next steps to emerge.

Slowing down in the face of urgent needs is part of my wisdom, not my laziness.

Something is brewing on the back burner of my life. I can’t yet see it. I catch a whiff of its scent now and again. I know it will have something to do with building sustainable partnerships across the chasms that too often divide us.  I want to explore how to live our huge dreams right in the middle of our too often chaotic and unjust world.

That clarity is coming. Soon? Next year? That is not for me to know.

For now, I move through my days slowly. With profound gratitude. Connection. And lots of time for solitude.

If I am to take my place of leadership in our world, I must honor my wisdom to stay still and wait until the way forward is clear.


Nancy Thurston is the author of In Big Topics at Midnight: A Texas Girl Wakes Up to Race, Class, Gender and Herself, in which she explores the connections between personal, familial and global awakening. 

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