Inward/outward, an online site that is an outreach of Church of the Savior in Washington D.C., offered a post in December 2018 that has remained with me ever since. The author wrote: “To keep my equilibrium, I have to remember the way I have come, and who brought me here, to help keep me grounded.” She then outlined a “roadmap” for herself for the coming year.
If the year 2020 has left you rather “dizzy,” after the roller coaster ride it has been, perhaps the New Year offers the opportunity to consider what will help you “keep [your] equilibrium,” in the coming weeks and months as 2021 unfolds.
The book Without Oars: Casting Off into a Life of Pilgrimage describes shedding normal routines, breaking “with normal predictability in a very specific way: not to fill life with other activity, but to empty life of former activities.” If nothing else, 2020 forced that break for me. Sheltering in place separated me from most of the people in my life, from social activities, from most of the responsibilities I normally carried out. Initially, I frequently was signing up for all kinds of things being offered online. But I recognized that was becoming burdensome. The empty space that had been created was valuable. I didn’t want to fill it up.
Since our return from caring for our grandsons, I am back to regular walks. I savor them now. I always enjoyed it. But I think I didn’t realize how much that was integral for me. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, the author of Without Oars, took time out to do a pilgrimage to Camino de Santiago in Spain. “Walking is usually the most inefficient way to get from one destination to another,” he wrote. “But it frees one, even in subconscious ways, from the obligation to get everything done fast. It also opens an entirely different view of the physical world.”
I am reminded of a similar experience my brother described. He was crazy about cars. One of my earliest memories is of an old car he had acquired that was parked out in front of our house. Sometime in his adult years he joined a car club that took trips in their Model Ts and Model As. He loved the difference in driving very slowly, what one felt and noticed at a slower, more relaxed pace.
May we, as the opportunities arise to resume our usual activities, be vigilant to maintain some inner space, that more sedate pace that can help us to maintain our equilibrium, which contributes to our own wellbeing as well as to what we have to offer into the world around us.
May we be bearers of hope, the “wait staff” of Hope’s Café for each other and all those we encounter. Shalom, Kate
Hope’s Café Bonus: Just a reminder: Walking can help burn calories; strengthen your heart; help lower blood sugar; ease joint pain; boost immune function; boost energy; improve your mood and extend your life. 😊