Dust to dust

Stillness is elusive. To still your body or your mind requires a will that is counterintuitive. Why should being still demand force. Maybe for others, this is different. They may have the skill to drift passively into quietude, even master the knack to sit down and be instantly still, present and calm. For me, I’d be sick with Discontinuation Syndrome as if I’d abruptly stop taking some medication. I’m itchy and twitchy and fidgety. I can’t sit still. I can’t think straight. My mind doesn’t coast as if you’d just lifted your foot off the accelerator, gently steering along a curvy road. Nope. My mind is like that racecar has hit a patch of oil slicked standing water on a freshly paved interstate; hydroplaning and spinning in circles, blurring everything and without direction. It can even make me feel sick to my stomach. The remedy is to taper off slowly. Do less, process less, juggle less. Slowly set things down, tuck them away, put them on pause. I make lists and I do my To Do Lists. This tapering slowly, task by task, to the point of stillness can take days. And usually, I don’t get days. Rarely more than three. And I can’t get still in three days. It is with a bit of trickery that I have come to believe having time to do chores and run errands is a kind of calmer-ness. And if I have the fortune of being able to can jam or quilt, they I tell myself, that’s good enough. Its almost stillness.

But its not.

Stillness is not drifting calmly on the surface of a river that has swift flowing currents just below the surface. Stillness is drifting into the eddies and reeds and stepping out of the boat and onto shore. Away and apart from the draft of the river’s tow. Stillness is to detach from [fill in the blank]. Really detach. Separate and disengage. It is the removal of the overcoat and the outer layers. Certainly, artificial stillness exists, pop-ups like alcohol or binging TV or (I wish) exercise but this is as restorative as a Happy Meal. And it does not quell the tremors in the soul that has run for too long at too break-neck of a speed.

Stillness is not a physical place or even a mental place. Stillness is a spiritual place, where the soul stops trembling. Sighs deeply. Drifts slowly and lands silently like fine dust particles on a freshly polished credenza.