surrender to stillness

By Kessler Bickford

Contributor

12.23.20

Sitting. Still. Makes. Me. Anxious.

Unless there’s a fever involved, you will not find me curled up with a book or watching TV. And please don’t ask me to play boardgames. These are the things I cannot do. Perhaps it’s because my profession requires me to sit still, sometimes for hours on end. Or maybe it’s a result of motherhood, when I morphed into a great white shark, destined to a state of perpetual motion. The thing is, when I push myself to be still, a list of chores flashes before my eyes: laundry, ironing, vacuuming, sorting thru the magic marker jar, making a grocery list. (I know what you’re thinking, and, yes, I’ve tried Adderall. All it did was give me GERD and produce an unsettling euphoria that led me to hug my IT guy...) And so here we are at the threshold of one of the strangest Christmas seasons the modern world has known.

Thanks to Covid, this holiday there will be no family gatherings. No tables set for 25. No company parties. No parties, period. Just you, in your house for a week, with your animals and your people. In short, lots of time to get sucked into the chore vortex. But I refuse to spend this precious family time circling my house looking for empty projects to sink my teeth into. I am determined to leave my chore-centric comfort zone and be still enough to catch the moments of wonder. But how… My honest answer is this: I don’t know how I’m going to pull this off. Because being still is new territory for me. I just know I need a break from the unsettling drive to do, that I want change. And the presence of the will, the want, is really all you need to set change in motion. Since I am aware that my phone is one of my greatest distractions, over the holiday, I plan to surrender it to my husband and have him hide it from me for a few hours a day. Put some distance between me and that dopamine-triggering time sucker. (My phone, that is, not my husband.) And, if all else fails, I am dedicated to having a long, winter’s Pursoma soak before bed. That way, if my best-laid plans to stay out of the chore vortex fall short, I know at least I’ve spent 20 quiet minutes in the tub. Besides, we great white sharks were born to be in salt water…

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