Walking Beside Me

I am not I.

I am the one

walking beside me whom I do not see,

whom at times I manage to visit,

And whom at other times I forget;

The one who remains silent when I talk,

The one who forgives, sweet, when I hate,

The one who takes a walk where I am not,

The one who will remain standing when I die.     

                                                ~Juan Ramon Jimenez


We find ourselves busier and busier these days, piling tasks and activities upon one another to see how many things we can do at once. We are going so fast, trying to fill up our days, trying not to miss anything, trying to stay on top of it all because it feels like all hell is breaking loose in the world.
 We know, somewhere inside of us, that this lifestyle is unhealthy. So, we may try to do less. Perhaps we settle down and decide to work on inner quiet, inner balance. Or we decide to “chill” and just do nothing for a while. Then what happens? All hell breaks loose on the inside! We experience a deluge of internal dialogue, unsettled feelings, disappointments, things to add to our list of things to do. It can seem like a mighty storm, just when we had decided to be still.
That inner place, closer related to the outer noise, is no better. In fact, because it feels so personal, it’s even worse. It would be better to just keep up the outer activity so as not to have to go there.
Our inner world is playing off of the outer world, like a “call and response.” We cannot separate one from the other. The chaos, disturbance, anxiety, injustice, untruthfulness in the world affects our inner life directly.
Where is the balance then? Where can one find inner peace? What is the one thing that cannot be taken away from us? How do we “visit” the one who is walking with us?
We can find a small, silent fulcrum; a place passed by so quickly that most of the time it goes by unnoticed. We have to catch this moment, this in-between, in all humility, and try as hard as we can to stay there. We can silence both the inner and the outer worlds. The more we practice, the more quickly we get there and the longer we are able to stay. It is important to “show up,” to try, each day.
Interestingly, when we have given over to this place, where we are not, we are able to go back into both worlds with grace and wholeness. We have a better time managing what comes to us out of the blue, while radiating peace into the world.
by Carol T. Kelly



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