I was trying to rework a piece of writing earlier, when I was struck by the irony of what I was doing. It was a post about a time when I got so caught in thought that I blundered down the wrong path, ignoring the nudges from my inner guidance system to take pause; to wait for the restless thinking to settle and allow the space for the wisdom to bubble up.
Since the morning I have been driven to publish that post. For no good reason, I have created a sense of urgency around this and have, as a consequence, been a little frustrated by the interruptions and the daily doings of life. I have laboured over this piece, completing, then deleting whole paragraphs; failing to imbue it with just the right flavour.
I stopped writing after typing the phrase “but something wasn’t quite right; there was less ease, more effort…” I realised that I had been forcing this piece of work; that is why it hadn’t been flowing. It wasn’t the time out taken to tend to the children, nor the lack of time in general that hampered the outpouring. It was just that I was trying to make a stale tale have meaning in the moment, when the moment had long passed.
But the essence of the tale holds true. I still get caught in thought and forget that my feelings are just a shadow of this moment to moment unfolding – they have no substance, despite feeling weighty at times. And wisdom is always with us, whether we hear it, or not. It just needs a little space.
Earlier today, the children and I were trying to hurry out of the house to get to a birthday party (one of the lovely interruptions I was talking about). We had already missed the bus that I had planned for us to catch and the next one would make us super late, given that, after we got off, we still had a half hour walk to reach our friend’s house.
My thinking was heavy, my feeling was impatient and antsy and the climate in the house was dropping rapidly. Then, just for a moment, whilst changing a nappy, I thought less, and in this space came an idea that hadn’t occurred to me before; “why don’t we call a taxi?”
I lightened up a little; softened.
Having a pretty empty purse, I asked my daughter if I could borrow some money from hers. But could she find it? Of course not. So she got caught up in her own thinking about being late for the party, her mood nosedived and the whereabouts of her purse remained a mystery. She searched everywhere she could think of to no avail. Once again, another thought occurred to me… “even if she doesn’t find it, I could just borrow some from the owl piggy bank”…
It was only when my daughter mentioned where she had last seen her purse that I realised she had forgotten the trip to the charity shops with her grandma just the other day. Fresh thought, purse found, crisis averted. We went from certain lateness to arriving at the party fifteen minutes early! Now that, my friends, is the creative power and ever practical wisdom of a quiet mind.
Thought less thought doesn’t always come with bells and whistles and Hallelujas. It is not necessarily a life changing extraordinary insight. It can be ordinary, common sense. But however it shows up, from that lightness within, you can guarantee that it is perfectly suited to the moment we are in.
…when the intellect is stilled, for a moment, universal wisdom has the opportunity to slip through the filters of our personal thinking and shine a light on our world
Elsie Spittle, Wisdom for Life (page49)