A few years ago, I would have expressed my core beliefs (condensed version) as “Go for it.” Go is seductive but life, including a few migraine headaches, has taught me to be selective about Go. Now my motto is the more nuanced, “Go placidly amidst the noise and haste”. These words completely express what I strive to achieve when consciously living life.
Go, like my home state’s motto “Forward”, compels action. In corporatespeak, the characterization is “proactive” versus “reactive”. Some of the unusual, exciting pieces of life — like participating in the National Cherry Blossom Festival as a princess — happen because I show up, I submit an application, I bother to Go. (Turned out no other potential princesses applied from my state that year.)
Go embodies a propensity to physical activity. Staying healthy is an important part of maintain a healthy whole and being someone I can live with. Go does not rule out mental activity, the sister to physical activity, which helps complete a healthy person. Each of us should seize the chances in this one precious life to use our muscles, including the brain muscle.
Placidly modifies Go. Experience, reflection help differentiate when Go is worthwhile—yet life cannot be completely predicted. Every day can include placidity but not without effort. Placidity is not effortless but worth striving for. My parents encouraged Go and installed that gift. Placidity I’ve found more in other sources, especially my husband, who has imparted some of his ability to chill out.
In the phrase “Go placidly amidst the noise and haste”, Amidst captures the acceptance that there will be stress, yet an individual is not required to embrace it. Remaining calm in a disagreement or within a restructuring workforce are all attainable. Learning to isolate against-build a personal firewall to control-the noise and haste is crucial. Understanding that a coworker’s stress does not have to become mine has helped me live the life I want to life. Being amidst does not mean being without compassion but it does imply that there are limits between me and the other — boundaries I can choose to impose.
“The noise and haste” reflect that “shit happens”. I’ve learned that the lives which seem to follow the order and sunshine of a crafter’s scrapbook are illusory. Some struggle, some turmoil, some noise and haste surely lurk beneath the surface. While I was once jealous of people who had nicer outfits, lived in fancier homes, and even had better names for their pets; I learned that contentment is far preferable to jealousy.
Some of my first noise and haste occurred when I was laid off while financially supporting myself. Left with a small savings account, I found a large gap between unemployment insurance and a month’s expenses. The experience imparted a better sense of myself, a soul ready to Go placidly amidst the noise and haste.
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