To an adrenaline junkie, it has taken me a long time to allow for serenity to not feel like borenity. (Again, not a word, I know but it is now).
When I first began working on my spiritual development, I was a mess and sitting still was acutely painful. Meditation excruciatingly hard work, and something that I tried to avoid. No matter how long I tried, it always came back to me sitting still and allowing God’s presence to permeate my soul.
And being permeated was not something I was all that crazy about…
But over the years, I have become better at doing things that I used to find boring: lying on an outdoor couch in the sun, reading on a lazy Sunday afternoon, meditation, yoga, really taking the time to listen to another person share what is on their minds and in their hearts. It has taken me a long time to get to a place where being serene does not equate with being bored…at least some of the time.
Last weekend, I took a long walk in the woods with just me and the dog. I didn’t listen to music, I didn’t talk on the phone. I just walked aimlessly, without purpose or intent, through nature, noticing things that I would normally miss on my mad quest for mileage and a sense of accomplishment.
I would not have been able to do this a few years ago. I was always striving for the end goal, the result. Another thing to do that was checked off my list. Desperately trying to walk off heartbreak, to gain some sense of freedom from pain.
But last weekend, I just walked, and saw things: water trickling through the creek, people filming a movie, dogs doing their thing, my own dog happy and content to just be with me, out there in the natural world. I had no agenda. I had no timetable. I was not rushed, I was not in a hurry. And I was not bored.
Downtime was something that I didn’t do. I mean I woke up, springing from bed and each day was game on! I was lit up and on fire and had a million things to accomplish in the day. I have slowed a bit and have come to value what I find in the stillness. It isn’t boredom anymore, I think, maybe, it is serenity I feel.
My day begins each day the same: I wake up early, let the dog out, make myself my one cup of coffee, let dog in, return to bed and write for usually two hours. I am still in body, but my mind is on fire, pouring out the contents of my heart, my soul and mind. It is within this daily stillness of body that I have come to know myself better. I have come to know an inner peace that I could not see or really experience before. I am not bored at all, how could I be when I give time each day to wander aimlessly through the canyons of my mind? Noticing all the little things about me and others that can never be perceived at top speed.
Serenity used to be such an elusive concept. Such a mad dash away from all that I knew and was comfortable. I really only experienced serenity by being bored and not all that interested in what I found in the stillness. It was always NEXT for me. Anything less, felt like a kind of death to me.
I am not sure where it began to change that I am rarely bored anymore. I just find enjoyment and peace within things that I used to find boring…and I think, that what I found is peace within which allows my body and mind to take a beat and just relish in the commonplace, the mundane, the ordinary. Hell, maybe even the extra ordinary. My life long quest for more and better and faster has begun to wind itself down so that I can participate in all that I missed running so hard and so fast.
It has been a long time coming, that is for sure, but I think that I now have peace within to experience down time, quieter time as serenity and not borenity. It is not boring to me any longer to go within…when did that even happen? My life does not have to be on fire, myself a lit with action and intensity that propels me forward, always seeking more, more, more.
I am not claiming perfection here. I am just here doing better at enjoying the spaces in between all the action, intensity and tasks.
I do not think I will ever be the person that can sit still for long. But I am better at it than I used to be. I can be still and not feel like death is just around the corner, forcing me up and into action so that I can cheat it one more time.
Instead, I have the courage to be with myself, for myself and then with others. Taking the time to be inquisitive about their inner workings, listening to what they say instead of what I want to say in response. I can be more present and not experience the boredom in life as boredom, instead it is like a mini vacation from me that feels like the absence of drama and boredom. I am not crashing between the two extremes…I am somewhere in the middle, wandering through the woods, moving but being present all the while.
If anyone would have told me years ago that there would come a day when I would be able to be quiet, or still, or lacking an action packed life and not be bored, I would have thought them mad or liars. But, like everything in life, experience is the best teacher. It shows us how wrong we can be in our minds and hearts, to include the things that we say and believe about ourselves.
I will never be a non-intense person. I will never be easygoing and idle. But I can experience some middle ground today and not have the idleness feel like it is going to kill me. So afraid to not fill all the gaps that I constantly launch myself into action, never mind what action, just any action to not be alone with my thoughts, fears and insecurities. Today, serenity feels good, not at all like being bored. And because I do everything alcoholically, I want more…more time down and quiet and peaceful and serene.
I am not sure how it happened that I would arrive at a place where I could just sit still and not feel like I was going mad…but it has and I have; serenity becoming a welcome guest rather than a fear evoking intruder. And serenity allows for boredom to become something else too. Boredom has been transformed into a new path toward inner peace and solitude something that is not to be feared but revered. And I didn’t even see it coming…and that which used to vex me, has transformed me instead.