Your heart muscle goes on working for as long as you live. It does not get tired, because there is a phase of rest built into every single heartbeat. Our physical heart works leisurely. And when we speak of the heart in a wider sense, the idea that life-giving leisure lies at the very center is implied. Seen in this light, leisure is not a privilege but a virtue.

Leisure is not the privilege of a few who can afford to take time, but the virtue of all who are willing to give time to what takes time – to give as much time as a task rightly takes.

David Steindl-Rast, Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer


Being preoccupied with ourselves is like being deaf and blind.

It’s like standing in the middle of a vast field of wildflowers with a black hood over our heads.

It’s like coming upon a tree of singing birds while wearing earplugs.

Pema Chodron, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times 


It is not an easy or automatic thing to be fully at ease in the place or moment we are in our lives….

My favorite poem from David Wagoner is “Lost” :

Stand still, the trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger.

The truth of this poem is an old truth. There are the places you wish to go, there are the places you desperately wish you never left, there are the places you imagine you should be, and there is the place called here. In the world of Wagoner’s poem, it is the rooted things – trees and bushes – that tell the truth to the person who is lost, the person with legs and fear who wishes to be elsewhere. The person must stand still, feel their body on the ground where they are, in order to learn the wisdom. This is not easy wisdom, it is frightening wisdom. 

In Irish, there is a phrase “ar eagla na heaglab” that translates as “for fear of fear.” It is true that there are some things that we fear, but that there is, even deeper, a fear of fear. So we are prevented from being here not only by being frightened of certain places but by the fear of being frightened of certain places. So “stand still” the poet advises. Learn from the things that are already in the place where you wish you were not.

Hello to the fear of fear
Hello to here ..

Padraig O’Tuama, in his lovely book, In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World