Necessary Lassitude

There are times when we seem to come to a near halt, and this is as it should be.

We just can’t seem to get anything going. Our focus becomes a roving searchlight, seeking inspiration, meaning, a landing place. Our inner eye careens from one thing to the next, desperate to recapture a sense of engagement and aliveness. Yet there is an odd sort of flatness to our internal landscape, a seeming wasteland that feels airless and beige.

We wonder what’s wrong with us. If we could just get it together, slap ourselves into shape, get a shot of adrenaline pumping zing! – we would be back on track.

When we have clarity – it is so sweet. Self-remembrance is a wonder. Knowing precisely our raison d’etre is exquisite. From all of that ideas flow, opportunities appear, synchronicities abound. We feel we are in alignment with life.

Yet I’ve come to realize that those times when we are wandering aimlessly on a barren landscape are just as crucial for our development as the creatively verdant times – maybe even more so.

If we could only recognize that when we’re crumpled listlessly on the couch, unable to focus on anything that feels like inspired forward motion, that something significant is actually happening, under the surface.

Somehow it’s relatively easy to recognize this bigger picture in hindsight. We finally rise one morning and we’re eager to dance with the day.  We look back and realize that, while it seemed all we had done in the previous three weeks was watch Downton Abbey and eat kettle corn, we were actually gestating our next steps.

Seeds were planted. On the surface, it appeared nothing was happening. Yet deep in the darkness, the seeds were growing. And all the stomping and slapping and self-flagellation did nothing to further this process.

In fact, of course, it may have slowed it down.

We need to trust in the times when we feel stuck. No, that isn’t the easiest thing. Especially when we want so badly to get going.

Deep beneath the seemingly parched places along our road of life, there is a natural river that flows within us all. If we surrender to it – heeding its direction, following the curves, swells, and the slow, meandering places… well, it all works, actually. 

And if we find ourselves caught up on the rocks for a time, maybe we are being asked to just rest there. Look around. Why do we find ourselves here, now? What is being asked of us?

Chances are, we need to simply be still for a while. Enjoy the sun and the breeze. Let thoughts and feelings rise and fall. Follow gentle nudges. If ideas come – jot them down. Paint them. But if they don’t, that’s okay, too.

Maybe we’re integrating. Maybe we’re gathering energy for a swell of activity that is just down river that we can’t yet see. Maybe we’re being asked to simply trust the ebb and flow of our own interior life.

There is grace woven into fallow times. Our task is to surrender to it. Wait for new opportunities and inspirations, which will come in their own perfect time.


With love,