Sit down and be quiet.
You are drunk. And this is the edge of the roof.
Rumi, Sufi mystic, poet, 13th century
It’s unfortunate that life isn’t about constant progress and unending success. Life is circular in form—cycles of light and darkness, success and failure, order and chaos. Seldom do we appreciate the necessity for these opposites. We’d rather just have it be successful and wonderful all the time. But we all have to pass through life’s cycles, gracefully or not. When we personally are confronted by the downside of these cycles, such as when we get stuck, how do we respond?
Do we get frustrated? Do we become angry and aggressive? Do we immediately find something else to distract and motivate us? Do we search for a scapegoat or target? Do we withdraw and disappear? Or do we sit there, content to acknowledge that we’re stuck, that we have no idea what to do now? In the workings of life, everything moves between periods of chaos and order. Too long in either state is destructive. Too much chaos and nothing new gets created; too much order and nothing gets accomplished. Stuckness is a sign that there’s too much order—too much rigidity in our thinking. It’s time to loosen our grip. When we get stuck, when nothing seems to be moving and there’s nothing we can do, this means that a very fruitful time is at hand. But these fruits come at a cost—we have to be willing to let go of what we’ve been holding onto—our opinions and beliefs, our current ways of perceiving things, our old methods and techniques. We’re inside a large knot and the tighter we hold onto any of its strands, the more stuck we get. Loosening our grip, letting some fresh air into our opinions, bringing in new voices and more diversity—any of these approaches will ease the knotty tension we’ve created. It’s another opportunity to recognize where we are and relax into the experience. Things will become so much easier if we do.
– From ‘Perseverance’