Prelude to an epiphany / On urgency and going through the motions: A phrase to describe the patient pace that is requisite of a commitment to an ordered life

She speaks of cloud waves and Orishas; of Maroons, curated meditations and the energy of trees.

And I came to her, humbled and in need.

We spoke of urgency.

I lamented what I considered “going through the motions” ... that feeling that rises up in you intermittently that indicates, not that things are necessarily off-kilter, but perhaps my perception of it was. I was feeling, at once, peaceful, content and yet stagnant -- cooed by the peace of stillness and my proximity to it, yet feeling disoriented in the moments when the ebb buoyed me away from it, and created temporary (and temporal) distance. A sense of urgency, in these moments, seemed to be a corrective mechanism.

But I was admittedly wary of it -- mostly because I have grown to recognize my tendency to get swept up in the undercurrent in the midst of me painstakingly trying to till a patient spirit within and cultivate a sustainable pace of life.

We settled in around remnants from a conversation that I had before with another dear friend. The energy fueling urgency [and tension, restlessness], my friend posited, can be harnessed in a healthy and constructive way. It need not lend itself to frenetic actions and behaviors that have become characteristic of modern living. But instead, it need only imply orientation -- that is, the direction of movement and intention. Urgency need only suggest our place as conduits and channels -- our commitment to be where we are supposed to be and to be tuned in to an animated existence. Urgency, then, has its place.

She was reminded of a time, in the midst of an impossible summer, when she was waiting for the public transit that was running a little behind its slated schedule. As the sun blazed, she could feel the beginnings of a stew of impatience, restlessness and maligned urgency welling up within her. Almost simultaneously, she remembered a voice charging her to, “Be still. You need to see these trees ... and they need to see you.”

She realized at that moment, that she was right where she was supposed to be; that the trees have seen some things in their existence and it was her time to be one of them. And vice versa. Thus, “going through the motions” is, at times, just a phrase to describe the patient pace that is requisite of a commitment to an ordered life. That our paces need only be steady, deliberate and forward-thrusting.

She speaks of Africa and Africans, and how they have, throughout time, weighed in on the matter.

And I am again reminded by her of what matters most at this moment –- that, very simply, I am right where I am supposed to be.

Anytime, she says. Anytime.

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