Brave the stillness. Come back inside.

“Have you thought of everything?” my mind asks as I consider the future. “Are you sure?” (Of course, I’m never as sure as it would like.) “This worries me,” it says. “You must be absolutely certain.”

“Watch where you’re going,” my eyes say as I try something new. “Do you see?” (Of course, I never see as far as they would like.) “Look both ways. Don’t go in blindly.”

And when it feels me holding my eyes open as wide as I can, looking in every direction, nervously flipping the pages of the calendar, looking a year ahead, 5, 10, searching for answers in what can never be known, my heart says, “Close your eyes. Come back inside and wait, dear.”

It’s so easy to lose myself searching on the outside for things that will only reveal themselves on the inside. Inside, where it’s dark and quiet. Inside, where the eyes can’t see. Inside the stillness that the mind resists.

“Think of your reputation,” my mind says.

“Face the facts,” my eyes say.

I’m learning to brave the stillness now.

I close my eyes and see that it isn’t dark at all. Colors dance behind my eyelids. Gold and green swirling with blue, a silhouette, a hint of sunlight through the open window. And when I’m there, I can hear my heart telling me to breathe.

Breathing in, more of me arrives. I slip back into my body, out of the noise and commotion of where I was and where I’m headed. I settle in to now.

“There is nothing to fear here,” my heart tells me.

My mind doesn’t believe it. It tells me about all its plans. “We have so much to accomplish!”

“You’re right where you belong,” my heart counters.

My eyes don’t believe it. They tell me of the hidden dangers just ahead.

“If they could only see what I see,” my heart tells me.

Sometimes I smile back at this sweet encouragement. Yes, yes, I think as I breathe myself deeper into me. The joy of being me courses through my body.

Sometimes it brings forth tears as I acknowledge the places I’ve been pulled apart, plucked from my roots too soon, my petals bruised by my own fumbling hands. I know, I know, I think as I hang my head. Can I still come in?

And sometimes, I wonder if my heart is lying. Surely this pain means I am broken, surely this fear means I am dangerous. No, no, there’s something wrong with me, I think.

My heart welcomes me all the same, even the parts that don’t know how to believe it.

Each time I come inside, I stay a little longer. I listen a little more deeply below the thoughts, below the plans, below the fears.

“Here, you are whole,” my heart tells me.

My heart knows of my darkness and light, my truth and lies, it knows of my problems, my failures, and my wild successes. It knows of my fear and love, my desire to control, my desire to surrender.

My heart knows the whole of me, and because of this, it always calls me back to the path that allows me to be whole.

My mind insists that my reputation is all of me. My eyes say I’m the details. They want certainty, safety, prestige. They want me to be the smart one, the hero, the success story.

But my heart knows the truth.

“Your love is your legacy,” it tells me.

I am not the details.

I am not the outcome.

I am the how.

I am the present.

I am the love of living.

I am my own life’s work.

And when I can remember this, there is nowhere to be but the present, nothing to be more certain of than this truth.

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Originally published at www.leslieralph.com on November 19, 2018.