Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Reflecting and Relaxed Relativity.
Relaxation is, in my exuberant and often inflated opinion, relative. Everyone has their different stand-stills, or those moments when their body and mind are at peace. When the muscles are relaxed, your head is a bit empty, and all of the world falls away. Tension melts into the ground. Your eyes feel clear, and everything, for that time, falls into a graceful perspective. A simplicity, if you will, that may or may not have alluded your mentality for a while.
I am the definition of a stress-induced individual. Stress-aholic, if you'll allow it, because I not only carried it around with me, but found myself opening the doors and welcoming it in, setting Stress down at my dinner table, and offering it a place to settle its ugly, heavy head for a time. I'm well aware of my decisions when made, and try very hard to take into account what will come of them. For a time, it seemed, I was finding stress where originally I would find comfort. Unfairly I was judging the world, leaning heavily on friends, and expecting a lot where I had invested so little.
I needed to step out of my self-made, repressive bubble, and this was only going to happen by my own device. If there was one thing I took from my uniquely supportive, yet glaringly blunt family, it was that things didn't just happen, and they certainly wouldn't be worth the time unless time was put into them. In my house there was never a time we felt that straight-talk wouldn't help. In fact, one thing I always expected from my parents and brother was their simple, sometimes harsh honesty (my brother has never shied away from a crazy conversation yet, and my parents are quick to tell me when I'm walking down a bumpy road). I have a whole heck of a lot of support back home (always have) and I know I've got more than my fair share, so who was I to walk blindly about and expect glittering rainbows to be dropped into my lap?
So I looked into traveling abroad, and I was sure to pick somewhere that would help to bring Humility back into my life, and send Stress packing. I know this was the right choice, and I was given a lot more than I initially asked for. In fact, Humility brought with it the extended, extensive family, including Clarity, the goofy cousin Awe who always inspires with the magic of simple actions, and Community, the uncle who always has candy in his pocket, and a story to tell. Humility was in the people here, who were happy with the love of their families, the shining sun, and the unending faith in God. Clarity from the children whose smiles shown with joy when we take their pictures, and play soccer with them. Awe from being shown, again and again, that taking the time to appreciate small wonders keep this girl young.
And Community, that silly uncle, stems from the people I share this space with. My friends here, both staff and fellow students, are very positive, dirty-hands-clean-minds-make-for-great-stories kind of folks, and here there seem to be no boundaries. Living in such a rural/wild location, one learns to find strength in honest working and communicating, and smiles are abundant. I think it takes a special kind of person to do this kind of work/study, and I'm very lucky to have met so many bright, uncommonly jolly peers my age. But really, what could be so bad when you have the Tanzanian sun-rise to wake to every morning?
Peace had decided to gift me with a complete moment of silent, transient nothing today as I was hanging out my laundry. It was before breakfast, and the sun had just risen. My colleagues were abed, and as I pinned my last laundry pin into place, a morning dove cooed: and I felt at peace. My mind was silent, my feet cool in the grass, my body free of aches and tension. It was a terribly wonderful moment, one I felt I had been building to for a long time.
I think this is what my dad feels when we're camping, and he's hiking out with us, pointing out trees and birds and peering through his binoculars. Or how my mother might feel when it's the evening after dinner, and we're settled in the living room; my father, brother, and myself are yelling over some ridiculous notion where none of us are correct, and she knows the answer but is happy to sit and let us bicker over false logic. Even my brother must find this feeling at some point, but I can only imagine it might be when he's completely numbed out by his Xbox, or drifting to sleep with the television on. I know for a fact that my dog feels this every time the family is together in the house, snoozing in the corner of the room, happy knowing that sooner or later dad will inevitably giver her another treat.
I only wish for everyone to feel this. There's nothing quite like coming into yourself, and out of yourself, to a point that you know that in the world there's no problem too big, or too heavy, or too ugly, that life hasn't got anything prettier to offer you. Your problems aren't really problems, but more color on your life-canvas. Something my dad and I label the cracks and dents in the hardwood floor: character. These moments are few and far between, but for the first time I knew that Stress was outside of my house, my yard, and even my country, off harassing some other person, because I was standing all on my own beneath the hanging laundry, listening to the doves call on the morning sun.