We Are Running…

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” – Lao Tzu

We are running

running and

time is clocking us

from the edge like an only


our mothers stream before us,

cradling their breasts in their


oh pray that what we want

is worth this running,

pray that what we’re running


is what we want.

~ Lucille Clifton ~

(QUILTING: Poems 1987-1990)

Have you ever been lost in the woods, or thought you were? Do you remember the urge you felt to go faster in order to suppress the fear, even though you knew perfectly well that what you really needed to do was to stop and think?

This is what we all do when we are lost – and scared.

Personally, I think that as a civilization, this is what we are – lost and scared – and our ”culture” is not helping us. Indeed, I think it’s giving us the opposite advice: keeping us running.

Don’t you feel it?

Time is Money”: What an obscene statement! Can you believe that there are those who actually believe that, and live that way? They need our compassion.

I was thinking of this (really) old joke: this dude walks into the Dr.’s office at tells him/her: “Doc, every time I try to scratch my left shoulder blade with my right hand, it really hurts. What should I do?” Not surprisingly, the Dr. responds: “Stop!!”

We need to stop.

Obviously, each of us can’t fix our entire Western “civilization” with it’s mantra on doing, getting  –  and, as the late Alan Watts liked to say: “gobbling up experiences like frantic Christmas shoppers.”

But thankfully, “I am still the boss of me” and I have the power to mend myself. Instead of trying to cover the whole world in leather, so I can walk in comfort – I can buy shoes!

Practice Tip: Do try this at home:

Find a glass jar, fill it with water, throw in some dirt, close the lid, give it a few shakes, put it down on the counter or a shelf, and leave it alone.

Let’s think of this jar with its opaque, muddy contents as “our busy everyday mind”.

After a while, because “we’ve been still”, and depending on what we’ve got going on in there, most of it will get clear. That’s the good part: The clarity – and calmness, which derive from stopping.

Additionally however, because we are now actually “witnessing” the working of our “mind”, another pesky factor may now have manifested: Namely, some of our mind’s “contents” will have refused to “settle down” to the bottom, and still be quite discernible, right on top, while others which we thought may have “safely settled” out of sight are now stubbornly trying to rise up again from the bottom. Now however, no longer hidden from view by our hectic agendas, we can see them clearly.

The good news is that it’s not necessarily the case that all these items, now visible to us, are “bad, unpleasant, or “negative” thoughts, memories, or events – not at all. Many are likely perfectly great, happy ones – ones that we will lean towards…(“more of these, please!”)

The other good news, is that those other topics: (“please, no more of those!”), which I can now see because I have stopped running for a while, can now kindly offer me this opportunity:

I now get to decide if I’m willing to acknowledge, take responsibility for, then take in hand, those subjects, which are standing between me, and the fulfilling, peaceful life, which awaits me.

Or instead,

Will I ignore this practice tip entirely, and choose to follow the lighthearted advice of wonderful local author Annie Lamott?

My mind is like a dangerous neighborhood. I try not to go in there alone.”

Either way dear reader, please be kind to yourself,



PS. BTW, pop star Bob Seger, based on personal experience, had some thoughts on all this. Click on the audio player link just below  and have a listen: (The audio player may not appear in your email. If not, click on the title of this post at the top, and it will take you to my site. You can do it from there.)

About Michael Scott

Michael Scott is a life coach, author and teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. After spending 35 years in business - coaching found him - and he's never looked back. Michael uses his coaching training and experience, in the service of his clients, as their constant and loving guide towards joyous, fulfilling lives which are genuinely their own. He lives with his dear wife in Sausalito, CA.

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