At some point during my life, I began to forget things—important things. I lost the ability to remember day-to-day that which once gave me the greatest happiness. This amnesia of sorts came not from biological disease, but was the combined effect of forms of dis-ease running rampant in American society—busyness, striving, the need to be successful at all costs. I, like many others, brought these causes of dis-ease to Div. school and let them run amuck in my heart and mind until I found myself standing at the threshold of second year filled with dread. The year before me held so many scary and unknown things—new classes, new professors, and CPE, along with the daunting task of juggling an internship, a job, a commute, and a family. So when the email about a contemplative practice group showed up in my inbox, I jumped at the chance. Something in my soul leaped at the thought of time just to be quiet, and for once, I listened.
I went into the group hoping for some time to sit with friends and possibly a little peace—what I got was every curve the Universe could throw at me to steal that time away. After the first group meeting, I got a little cough, that turned into pneumonia, that turned into heart complications and kept me away from several of our scheduled meetings. To say I was frustrated is an understatement. Here I had planned time for contemplation, inked in my calendar time to be away from everything, and nothing worked out. I watched social media on those days waiting for updates from my fellow contemplatives with a veritable cocktail of emotions—one part shame, one part jealousy, and more longing than I knew I possessed. I decided to take up the practice from far away. It started as sitting on the agreed-upon days and times from a distance, and it ended with carving out time every day to sit with myself and listen. When I was able to join our group again, we danced. We turned on music and let our bodies speak what they needed without any care to how it looked. After months of practicing alone, I was overcome with emotion. Like Rip Van Winkle waking from too long asleep, I found myself fully present in mind and body for the first time in too long and I began to remember—
I exist to dance—it is how I express myself most fully.
I love music—I spent my childhood singing prayers until I learned the “right” way to pray.
I need silence—the world and my mind are too loud and exhausting.
I long for community—I’m no good at making friends, but I long for them in my life.
I’m curious to see what else I remember as I continue to make time to sit—what nuggets of truth the Universe has to return to my memory—but, for now, I’m just happy to be awake again.
Nicole is a second year student at Wake Div. When she is not at school or work, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and two daughters, dancing the kitchen, and sitting in the quiet after everyone else has gone to bed.
Image source: Marti Cupples