The other day in an email to my recovery mentor I wrote, “There is grace in limitation.” My eyes about bugged out of my head. I couldn’t believe I wrote that because I’m all about freedom, innovation, and unencumbered roaming, yet as I typed it, I realized it’s true.
From my perspective, U.S. culture lionizes pushing boundaries, tearing down walls, unhindered growth. All of that has its place, but so does maintaining boundaries, erecting walls, and hindered growth. I think about shoes. When my sister and I were little, we used to play dress up and wear our mother’s shoes. We clattered around in her too-big high heels, but we couldn’t competently walk in them. Her shoes contained too much space for our feet. In order to not trip over ourselves, we have to wear shoes that are only slightly bigger than our feet. We all need some limits.
Right now I’m living in the land of limits. My sleep is still terrible, my energy is still low. I’m possibly on a precipice of change but I don’t know for sure. I’m still in limbo, waiting to find out. And instead of rebelling against my situation like I normally do, for this week anyway I’m recognizing there is grace here too.
The message to me right now seems to be, “It’s OK to go slow. It’s OK to rest. It’s OK to take things easy, for life to be small.” I’m not zooming ahead. I’m not initiating new projects or learning new things. I’m sitting still and letting that be allowed.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but my spiritual teacher characterizes movement as systaltic, like a heartbeat. A pulse. He said, “Now everything moves and that movement is of systaltic nature. Wherever there is any movement there is pulsation. Without pulsation there cannot be any movement. And this pulsation, that is movement through speed and pause, is an essential factor for each and every animate or inanimate object. Wherever there is existential factor there must be this pulsation. An entity acquires strength and stamina during the pause phase, and emanates vibration during the speed period. There cannot however, be any absolute speed or absolute pause in the created world.”
My takeaway from that is no matter what phase we’re in – speed or pause – is natural, normal. There is no period that’s wasted or bad or however else I sometimes think of the pause. The pause is just as crucial as the sprint because that’s where strength and stamina are acquired. There is grace here. There is good here. There is God here.
I dream of a world where we remember all phases of life are natural and normal. A world where we recognize the good in pausing, in stopping, in waiting. A world where we realize pausing is a crucial part of life. A world where we realize there is grace in limitation.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.