From the time the alarm goes off, it can feel like we get hit, suddenly, with a crossfire hurricane. Our house is chaos. Our schedule is grueling. Our boss is screaming our ears off. Our co-worker needs us to show them how to do something for the umpteenth time. We’re running late for a meeting. We’re coming down to the wire on a deadline. We’re not fully prepared to present to this client. We’re supposed to meet that friend for lunch. We’re sitting in traffic one car away from the guy who won’t lay off the horn. Finally, you’ve made it to the end of the day. But even the cool, quiet dark is pierced by the shriek of someone who has jammed their toe on the foot of their bed...and the shriek is coming from your mouth after stubbing your toe on the way back from brushing your teeth.
There is barely a thread holding it all together. There is never enough sleep. There is never enough time. Yet, to be good at our jobs, to be good at this living thing, we need to find the time so that we might find stillness. Find time to reflect, to focus. We need the calm that comes from stillness to restore and reboot us.
Where will we find it? It won’t be, as Seneca and Marcus Aurelius remind us, in fleeing to the country or to the sea. It won’t be those measly two weeks of vacation or by cutting and running. No, we must find the stillness within the chaos. It might not feel like these moments of quiet can exist within a world full of honking and yelling, with a Google calendar so packed with meetings and deadlines that everyday looks like its own package of Starburst. The Daily Stoic
But it can. If we go within.
We must find it, early in the morning before the house and the world are awake. We must drink in those minutes after the kids are in bed—really drink it in, don’t defer it in favor of Netflix. Sitting in an Uber, we can take time with a journal. Getting the furthest parking spot in the garage, we can enjoy that walk to our office. Waiting in the preposterously long line at the grocery store, we can think about what the key lessons were in what we read this morning.
No matter what is happening in the world, we must be like the rock with the waves crashing around it, as Marcus Aurelius said. It stands fast and still, and eventually the sea falls still...if only for a moment.
You must find stillness everyday. And the best place--the only place--to reliably look for it is within yourself...The Daily Stoic
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