I found it quite difficult to write this week's reflection because so much happened and I didn't know where to start. I also didn't know how to say it in a way that would be meaningful to you. However, as I was taking my laundry off the clothesline on the roof a thought came to me. Yes, this week was utterly busy but it didn't feel rushed or chaotic like a busy day in the US would feel. My life over the past 4 years has felt like a race, a race against my own clock. In my head the best, brightest, and most successful individuals always finished first, therefore I set unrealistic expectations for myself. Many times friends, professors, and mentors would tell me to slow down so I didn't "burn out" and regret pushing myself past my limit. I often didn't take time for me.
A song comes to mind when I reflect on the past week, and really the past four years. Part of the first verse and the refrain are below:
"Ninety miles an hour going fast as I can
Trying to push a little harder trying to get the upper hand
So much to do in so little time, it's a crazy life
It's ready, set, go it's another wild day
When the stress is on the rise
in my heart, I feel you say just...
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest, at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls, but all you really need
Is to just breathe"
The Haitians live in this state of raw existence. They are self-aware and know their limits. When life seems to get hectic, instead of getting stressed or trying to catch up they take time to sit and just...exist.
I first noticed this when I was in the market. I saw a motorcycle taxi driver pull over and just sit in the shade and observe his surroundings. I was captivated by him and by many others because they often look so content to just sit and be still. I think that people like myself need to learn to appreciate the present moment. All too often we are so caught up in ourselves and our busy lives that we don't take time to be still, listen, and observe the world around us.
Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest, and well-known theologian challenged his 311,000+ subscribers to "Go to a place in nature where you can walk freely and alone...speak no words but watch and listen for God's presence....stop and be still...let yourself know and be known..." I have learned that in order to make it through these eventful days (and life in general), one must take time to pause, look inward, take time to connect with nature and...just breathe.