Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In stillness, calm reflections

"Whenever you are in a negative state, there is something in you that wants the negativity, that perceives it as pleasurable, or that believes it will get you what you want."
-- Eckhart Tolle, Oneness With All Life

There's a thick fog hovering over the island today, providing a quiet backdrop for the tree that fell from the opposite bank and somehow floated through the channel to land on our beach. The small log floating by stands as an appreciative audience for the branches dancing above the tide and the graceful reflections on their watery stage.

Without the calm backdrop of the still water and the fog, these branches just look like clutter on the landscape; it is the stillness that allows us to see their beauty, grace, and playfulness. The irritations in our lives, I think, contain that same possibility: they can be perceived, when our minds and lives are busy, as clutter to be removed, problems to be solved, frustrations to be whined about.

But if we can create a stillness around them, there's a chance we might be able to see the gift in them; see also that it is the attitude with which we surround them that adds that irritating quality.

So when you find a situation is really irritating for you, see if you can create a stillness around it. Ask yourself, "What am I doing to make this worse? What am I getting out of staying agitated about this? And where is the gift in this situation?"

There are no magic answers here: no guarantees a tide will come along to carry the irritation away (and even if it did; who knows what new challenges that tide will bring!). But it might be that this irritation -- like this tree, which now seems permanently mired on my beach -- is becoming a home for a host of new possibilities. It's all in how you look at it.


Maureen said...

Great perspective, both on the image and how we see.

(Now, would your daughter like this image? With or without the log?) said...

Probably not! Not only is it grainy, but it's BO-RING...

Donna Henderson said...

Your work is something to aspire to.

M.L. Gallagher said...


I love the tranquility of this image and the possibility of something different, something other coming from it.

As you say, if it is irriating, create stillness around it and ask yourself, 'what's in it for me to be irritated about this?'

I love the way our journies parallel, shift and align then drift away to realign again at another intersection.

Very cool.


Maureen said...

I had to come back to this post after reading today's.

We are our own most severe critics of what we do or make or say. Maybe the image is grainy, maybe that log is clutter that would be better out of sight; still, when I looked at it with your words in mind, I could imagine the "dancing", the movement. I'd like to think the imagined movement is the carrying away of that irritation (irritant).

Perspective does become a choice.


I logged in today at two posts after this one and came back to read this one first.

First of all, the photo is lovely. ...dancing figures for me - like water walkers giggling at the world for being so inept or "other" than they.

And your words are so apropos to daily life - at the px counter yesterday there was no record of a px called in from the doctor's office. I had requested that two weeks ago. The pharmicist apologized and PUT a smile on my face and hopefully sincerely said, "it's o.k. and certainly not your fault - I'll check it out" while inside I was heading toward boil. Driving home I grabbed myself by the collar and said - "do NOT blow this incident out of proportion to what it is. The nurse is VERY efficient re px call in, etc. maybe there was a sub nurse, maybe not. Are people not allowed to make a small error - my life was not threatened or compromised by not receiving this px today" well, you get the picture. I talked myself off of that ledge and then really had to laugh to think that something so tiny in life could even BEGIN to imagine an issue. Oh yeah, an irritating situation can only be made worse when we begin to play the role of victim. Thanks for reminding me and NO, you're NOT preachy!:)