#16 Learn to be Still: Don Henley: The Eagles 1994.
Today’s song is The Eagles, Don Henley’s Learn to be Still from the 1994 Hell Freezes Over Album. It is a song which my hubby has long told me I should listen to, take some notice of and just learn to do.
Hubby describes me as his little blue tailed fly, always onto the next thing without stopping. And to be fair he does have a point, however I do have a defense to make. Sometimes life just puts us in circumstances where we are responsible for a lot of things and the only way to manage is just to go from one thing to the next without a spot of downtime in between. For many, many years this was me and the problem is that this way of handling life becomes a habit which is not easy to break even long after the necessity has passed.
In my family of origin we were taught to work, to be constructive and productive and for many of my siblings this has definitely been a recipe for success. My dear hubby, henceforth to be referred to as MDH, calls it my Protestant Work Ethic which he sees as a way of thinking that one has to work themselves into the ground to feel they are worthwhile. In my defense, there is a balance, because idleness is not a virtue either, you know the old saying that the ‘devil finds work for idle hands.’
My dear friend, David W, who has known me for many decades and has witnessed all the juggling my life demanded explained to MDH that it would not be easy for me to learn how to be still. For many years life was simply a process of gritting my teeth, getting through one thing, putting it in the done pile and starting on the next, and the piles never got any smaller. Even when life eased up I found that as soon as one task was coming to completion, my mind was on the next and I would jump, like that blue tailed fly, into it.
I can actually pinpoint when the change in my thinking occurred. Towards the end of last year I was driving home after a big day and listening to music when Learn to be Still came on the radio. By this time I had retired but I thought life still had to be full, crazy, busy and to be honest I was feeling tired and overwhelmed… again. It was just like a switch went on in my head and I thought, maybe I should give this being still gig a go. It took some courage to tell people I was going to step down and back from a whole lot of things, but I did and I have. And I think it is working, I am learning to be still.
Previously I thought I would have to have a severe illness or crack up as an excuse to step back a bit, but I think I have learnt it is better to step back and take stock before it is actually forced upon one. I have also learnt that I am still valuable even if I am not turning myself inside out to try and prove it.
So thank you MDH and Don Henley for your wisdom.
Though the world is torn and shaken
Even if your heart is breakin’
It’s waiting for you to awaken
Someday you will
Learn to be still
I just might be starting to awaken!
Please listen to this beautiful song. Maybe it is the message you need to hear also.