"Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mud settles and the water is clear?"
- Lao Tzu
I’m opening the kimono a little in this one...
The days after the holidays were a bit tough for me this year. I spent some wonderful time with family and friends back home around Christmas. I had the chance to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in years — including a woman, now 95, who I saw nearly every day for 10 years of my childhood. It was incredible. Over five days I saw more than 70 people and put over 400 miles on my rental car. (And watched Star Wars with my brother and nephew — an experience I truly cherished.)
It was a lot. And I loved it.
Coming back, though, was a hard crash. And I didn’t realize until after it happened. I came home to an empty house. No more parties to go to, places to drive, schedules to work out. I loved the alone time but it was hard to pick up momentum again. To feel the same energy I’d felt with everyone just days before.
And it’s stuck with me for a bit. My daily gratitude practice has suffered. I’ve had trouble expressing the things I’m grateful for every morning. I’ve been moving, but not in a particular direction so I haven’t finished much substantial work. And I can see it’s affected my relationships with others, as I’ve tried to remanufacture the high I felt during the holidays but haven’t been myself.
Today I sat down to brainstorm some topics for this month’s newsletter and prepare for an upcoming project (can’t wait to talk that more about soon). The ideas came in spits and spurts, from different directions, and without any punch. I was in a funk.
Finally, I realized it was time to stop — everything. To give myself some time to switch it off and let the water settle. This afternoon I sat to meditate for the first time in days. With no intention, no need to search for anything, but simply to let my mind and body relax into where I am. To be back home and nowhere else.
After a few minutes of struggle, my mind slowly began to clear and thoughts became more manageable. I found some calm for the first time in days and the quote above popped into my head. A few minutes of silence gave inspiration for this post, along with what I think is a great topic for our newsletter later this month. (Here is where you can sign up.)
Lesson learned: If you stop for a minute, the answers will come. Sometimes the best way to search is in stillness. That’s when the dust can settle and the water becomes most clear.
So if you’re struggling with a creative problem or to regain focus, allow yourself time to let your mind be still. Have patience and trust that what you need is found there.