Last night a Caribbean surfer asked me
“do you ever sit still?”
It got me thinking.
I have been virtually incapable of sitting still for as long as I can remember.
Hyperactively running in circles around my backyard half naked screaming “I’m jungle boy!”
Gyrating in my seat in the classroom antsy to move, to speak, to create.
Strutting ahead of my group of friends on the street
“slow down turbo” they would shout.
Consistently receiving the same feedback on my report card
“can not sit still in class.”
So it makes perfect sense
as a wanderlust adventure junkie
I have found happiness
in constant movement
all over the world
held back by no one
I can hop a ferry from Spain to Morocco
in a spontaneous quest for adventure.
Spend one afternoon in Leon
and decide to leave when it fails to charm me.
I can book a last minute flight from Colombia
when my funds drop to frightening lows.
I can come and go
wherever I want
whenever I want.
It is so easy
to pack my bag
and run away
to new places
with new people
new sights new smells
I find this beautiful.
I find this freedom.
But freedom is also feeling content
wherever you are.
Because you can be as trapped in a cycle of constant moment
as driftwood caught in a riptide
but going nowhere.
So even when my feet feel itchy
from time to time I bring myself here.
To remember how to simply be.
To see how much I can grow when my restless traveling energy flows inward for a while instead.
To remember how to be ok sitting still.
What does it mean to sit still?
Is it waiting for someone to finish a sentence
without interjecting the thoughts you’ve already formulated in your head?
Is it laying on the beach without fulfilling your urge to shift, to walk, to wander?
Is it sleeping in a hostel for more than one night?
Staying in a town for more than a week? More than a month? More than a year?
Deciding to stay long enough to invest in a home, a job, a business
to invest in belongings, relationships, a life.
To stick around long enough to watch everything around you grow and change
rather than moving to see something that is already so obviously different?
Or is it simply being content in one place
a physical, an emotional, a mental, a spiritual
for as long as you are there
no matter the duration?
Do you shift and change your location
when things get too uncomfortable
for you to want to face?
Do you move your body
in unison with your buzzing mind
in a constant attempt
to distract yourself
rather than face what is truly going on inside?
do you struggle
to sit still?
As a person passionate about experiencing every square mile of this muddy, sandy, grassy, water covered earth
does sitting still require the absence of movement
while wandering the world means the absence of rest?
Is it possible to find stillness in movement and movement in stillness?
Can you surrender, relax, and breathe
speeding on the highway to your next engagement
task managing your day at the office
relocating for a job, a loved one, an adventure
winding desert mountains on rickety buses
flying above vast waters on turbulent airplanes
climbing volcanoes for miles under the hot equatorial sun
paddling with fury to catch the set breaking behind you
searching for water, food, and shelter
in a new town in a new language?
Can you sit still in unity
no matter what is moving
no matter what is changing?
In your stillness
can you watch the change of the tide in the same ocean that has known you all your life?
You, the constant that is always changing.
Can you stand at your window and see the hummingbirds buzz around the sweetest flowers
while a sloth slowly moves from limb to limb?
Can you sit with your breath and feel how it deepens the longer you sit, the longer you stay?
Can you release your mind and let it be free
while you sit surrendered
melted like an ice cream cone
on a hot Caribbean afternoon?
Can you allow your body hold you
in one place
for as long as it needs to
without the distraction
of your mind?
To see the quiet movement within you?
The subtle movement around you?
Just for today, could you try?
Could you find a place of stillness
no matter who you are
no matter where you are ?
Whether you’re a backpacker
could you sit for a moment
and see that even in stillness
everything continues to change?
Could you find the perfect moment
where you feel so continually
even in my restless explorative traveling body
that loves to wander
(yes Caribbean surfer dude)
I do find stillness.
And it doesn’t itch at all.