Monday, May 20, 2013

Moving Still

All my life, I have battled against a measurable degree of motion sickness.  Nothing too terrible; just that uncomfortable sensation of movement.  As life has gone on, I have gained a bit of insight into this phenomenon...and it's interesting.  I thought I'd share.

I feel motion.  Whether I'm walking around the grocery store, riding in a car, driving in a car, or flying somewhere.  There are times I feel like I need to just stop for a minute so I can breathe - or swallow.  Well, I am a seven-hour drive away from home this week, and it was fun getting here.

Ok, it really was fun.  I spent the trip playing with my motion sickness.

Here's what it is, and this is why persons even like myself tend to not be sick when they are the ones doing the driving: it's a matter of where you feel your motion.

What I realized as I wound my way through the mountains was that in the passenger seat, you're almost completely externally focused.  You're watching out the windows.  You're engaged in conversation.  You're looking at this, mentioning that, swinging yourself around, but you're not really in your own body because there's nothing for you to do.  So the motion is very pronounced because it's all external.  You're moving, but you're not doing the moving, and it just kind of takes you.  

Driving, on the other hand, you are fully engaged with your own body.  You're steering with your hands.  Changing the radio stations.  Moving your feet from gas to brake to gas again.  You're doing something internal, something within yourself, and it offsets the motion because suddenly, the motion isn't all you've got.

So I started to wonder - if you could engage something in your body as a passenger, would this limit the motion sickness?

Indeed, it does.  Somehow, engaging yourself in something internally creates a sense of stillness within your body.  You escape the motion by engaging more in the journey, weird as it seems, and you have a place to stop and settle down even if you never actually stop.

And the implications go far beyond travel.

This is, I think, a problem for most of us.  This world just seems to take us wherever it pleases we go.  We feel like passengers in this journey called life, and it's easy to get everything spinning a little bit.  Particularly in those times when we're not doing anything.  When we're just kind of hanging out, sitting around, waiting on life to be whatever it is or whatever it's going to be.  It's dizzying...and more than a little sickening.

But what if you could find something to engage yourself in?  What if you could find something internal to do to ground you?  What if you were more than just riding along, and you had something to keep your body engaged with the journey?  All of a sudden, it's a lot less sickening.

That is what God and faith do for us.  God and faith give us that something within ourselves to put our bodies to.  To put our minds to.  To put our hearts to.  So that as we're traveling around this world, around this place called life, it's not just motion.  We're in it.  We're doing something.  We are not just travelers; we are journeymen.  And journeywomen.  It creates a sense of stillness in us, a place where we are at peace, and weird as it seems, we have a place it feels like we can stop, even if we're still moving.

It makes all the difference.

The next time you find yourself thrown off, disoriented, dizzy, or disrupted by the trip your life is taking you on, ask yourself what you're doing.  Are you just riding along, staring out the windows, feeling the motion but having no physical connection to it?  Or are you in the driver's seat, engaging your whole being in the journey and having that something that grounds you to what's going on?

One makes the journey a lot easier.  And then something interesting happens, which I will share with you tomorrow.

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