the art of standing still

He who does not advance, goes backwards. If our society would have a slogan, this would be it. We have to grow, develop, go somewhere with our lives. We never simply ‘are’. We are working, we are pretty, we are happily married, and if not, we’re working on that one.

We never just sit and wonder. We never climb onto the roof and look, to the earth and sky, to ourselves. And if we do, we make a picture of it to post on Facebook. Otherwise what’s the point, if there’s no one looking with us.

Our whole society is build on the model of growth. Profit, expansion, innovation and succes are the most important pillars of our time, with volatility as its inevitable outcome. Trends follow one after another, and we follow just as hard. Dips become crises, crises become good reasons to run even harder, to grow even more, to inject, organise and innovate. Grow, or die. It’s the logical adage of companies. And somewhere down the road, it has become ours.

Somewhere down the road, we have forgotten what it is to just stand still. To just be, look around, to just live. Somewhere down the road, we have adopted the outer world as part of our inner conscience. We became best friends with our smartphones, who connect us with just a few swipes with everyone, through facebook, mail, whatsapp, twitter, tinder. Without limits. As soon as we wake up, even before we look to ourselves in the mirror, we connect with the outside world. And we start to run. Because from that moment on, we look to ourselves with the eyes of the outside world. And this world want us to do one thing: to grow. Be better. Prettier. More perfect, savvy, successful, happy. Because you are just as happy/perfect/successful as your last achievement. And if that one dates from too long ago, there’s no one to see it anymore.

And if there’s no one who sees us, we feel empty. As if we don’t matter. As if we don’t have a right to exist.

Because somewhere down the road, we seem to have forgotten one other thing. To look at ourselves, with our own eyes. To feel what we feel. To realize that we are not companies, but people.

But we are just that. People. We breathe, in and out. We have a body, with skin and muscles and blood and a heart that never stops beating until it does. A heart that goes faster when we feel excited, panic or enthusiasm. A heart that slows down when we are at ease, peaceful, just downright happy. A heart that, if you listen carefully, answers all those questions that you might have, deep inside you.

Just as your body. Our body is not only bones and muscles and blood. It’s also full of memories, full of pain and sorrow, moments to cherish, moments to forget if only you could, but you can’t – our body forgives, but doesn’t forget. Our body is so much wiser than we are: it knows that life is not perfect, that it comes with beauty and pain, that it’s simple and difficult at the same time. And that it’s meant to be that way. The most meaningful things in life are the ones that come with hardship. Sorrow and joy go hand in hand. No light without darkness.

It’s quite natural that we have forgotten all that. It’s not easy to just stand still. To listen to our heart, to feel our bodies. Our heart might tell us things we don’t want to hear. Our body might remind us of feelings we don’t want to be reminded of. It’s so much easier to run, and so we do. Even though at the end of the day, the week, the month, the year, we keep on having that feeling that time is passing by so quickly and life is going so fast – as if life is an independent thing outside of us, having its own pace and rhythm.

And still, when you think about it, it’s quite unnatural.

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