This I Believe

Ann - Atlanta, Georgia
Entered on April 24, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: work

I believe in being still. I believe that sometimes the most powerful messages come in silence and the biggest changes in our lives come about because we don’t do a thing. I believe that the world has forgotten this.

I’m a Type-A perfectionist with two mechanical engineering degrees. One year, my New Years resolution was to run a half-marathon. So on the last day of December, I ran south on Peachtree Street from my Atlanta apartment down to Piedmont Park and back, a total of exactly 13.1 miles. Check! I had completed my goal before the New Year even arrived.

Throughout early twenties, my life philosophy was all about being in motion. I derived my self-worth from how much I could accomplish. Isn’t this what the world tells us? I thought I had to constantly strive to create myself. I knew it was going to take a lot of effort to become strong, intelligent, accomplished and admired, but I was up to the task.

Then I hit a wall. With two engineering degrees in hand, I realized I didn’t actually like engineering. Now what?

A priest once told me to imagine that I’m walking down a dark corridor towards a door. When I reach the door and open it, I walk slowly into a dim room. As my eyes adjust, I see that there’s a sculpture in the middle of the room. The sculpture is of me. Then I realized that the sculptor is also in the room, and he is working on the sculpture. This was the image the priest gave me to ponder.

This image is how I now try to live my life. I had been unconsciously thinking of myself as both the sculpture and the sculptor, a one-woman show. I had tried sculpting my own life. I picked a career that could prove my intelligence to the world, but I wasn’t happy. It was a profound and radical thought to think that I could evolve in to who I’m meant to be without doing anything, simply by being still and allowing the sculptor to work.

So I started trying to be still to allow the sculptor to work his magic. As far as I can tell, He still has a lot of work to do. I will always border on hyper, and my peacefulness tends to hinge on what I’ve accomplished in a given day. But I’m working on recognizing that there is a fruitfulness in simply being. Amidst the ever increasing noise of this world, I believe it is the silence that often contains the most important messages.