You might think it easy to determine whether you are moving forward, stepping backward or captured in the stillness that lies between. It may be, however, that your ability to do this depends directly on how you are connected to your surroundings. The quality of the threads that attach you to the people, objects and events in your life make it more or less possible to know what kind of movement is happening for you in the moment. A strong attachment to something or someone outside of you, by its nature, pulls you off center, and the strength of that connection affects the energy and effort required to remain centered. Weaker sensations may not sway you one way or the other. They may not even figure in your movement consciousness; perhaps their influence is so subtle that it bypasses awareness altogether. In either case, we may not be as independent as we think we are.
What really determines our spatial orientation? Isn’t movement, after all, always in relation to a central point? You can be moving toward or away from this point or even staying in place, where movement is happening without having committed to a particular direction. What’s most important here is that movement is relational. And, in many respects, we truly are relational beings.
Once you acknowledge whether you are moving forward, stepping back and remaining still, do you find yourself accepting of where you are on that continuum? Would you rather be at a different point? This stage is often where the “shoulds” show up, sometimes masked as nagging perceptions of others who seem to be further along than you. Have you ever picked up the energy from the people around you – finding yourself swept up in the momentum of wants or needs that are driving others? How difficult or easy is it to step aside, let them run past and follow your own path?
It can, especially during times of great upheaval in our lives, require extraordinary energy to hold your own ground, to tap into our own inner wisdom. It can sometimes be impossible to hear the voice inside or even be aware that it is there behind the louder, more insistent voices outside our own. Especially difficult is when we find ourselves in a situation that is new, for which we lack the framework of experience. At times like these, we often feel the need to look elsewhere to find the expertise or experience to help us find our way. Not a bad choice, however, how might it possible to remain grounded within ourselves in the midst of looking outside ourselves?
How would it be to take a deeper breath, focus on what’s happening now in the present moment as if it’s the most important time for you? There you are within the stillness of a mindful presence – perhaps only for the very briefest of times – but might it not be enough to notice what direction you are headed? Maybe the surge is interrupted long enough to allow the element of choice to surface and help determine whatever movement follows. And perhaps, in that brief experience, is the opportunity to realize the possibility of carrying the stillness with you as you move, knowing that forward and back are all part of the changing journey that we take.