Inertia — Nº145
Ancient in spirit, youthful at heart
In the hustle and rigour of modern life, it’s easy to lose sight and find yourself course-correcting so often. Passion requires slow cultivation. But in the perpetual rush, you can miss what truly matters: how often you pick up the phone each week to call someone close. The minutes you take to pause and breathe deeply. The trips you do to explore new locations alone.
We grow so focused on passions to pursue that serve functions we don’t need or understand. We become so fixated on ticking our to-do lists, answering emails, or publicising our lives, that we neglect the practices that have guided humanity for millennia. These are a few reasons why pushing aside expired stories about who you are and what you do and notice how you feel right now is important.
Think of an oak tree standing stalwart through the seasons. As the world transforms around it through cycles of life and death, it remains firmly rooted with an aura of having borne witness to the rise and fall of countless generations. The oak doesn’t trouble itself with momentary fads. Rather, it continually draws energy from sources far more eternal — the soil, the rain, the sun.
The same goes for you. Make the effort to tap into more timeless sources of sustenance. Through practices like meditation, prayer, journalling or time in nature, away from your phone, anchoring ourselves in stillness allows space for what is called the eternal currents of truth and grace. From this vantage point, the frenzy of life comes into a better perspective, and you can discern what needs attention now and what can pass like a fleeting cloud.
Cultivating an ancient spirit means to grant ourselves resilience in the face of loss or change. Sudden or gradual. As humans, we innately excel at adapting. I heard a recent story from someone close to me about how a huge argument happened at work because people who’d been there for over eight years were aggrieved with doing more work — despite having it arguably too easy before. While S had no problems with this new pace, the others on the team decided to herd and rally against him, accusing him of making things harder. An easily proven lie. While one gracefully adapted to the new pace, the others did nothing but complain.
There are countless people like them. Endlessly unhappy unless expectations are exceeded. You think the world owes you something, but you will only end up disappointed. You can’t sit around waiting for the world to come and hand you what you think you deserve.
If you want something to happen, you have to take action. Go positive and go first.
Ancient spirits love nurtured interests. Doing things that align with timeless values like simplicity, service and community. Look around. You’ll notice that all of us, in various ways, are pursuing this. It may be through building online communities, gardening, competing in sports, or volunteering. But it’s all with the same goal in mind.
Staying youthful at heart, on the other hand, keeps our curiosity and sense of wonder alive. Walking through well-worn paths yet observing vistas as though we’re beholding their beauty for the first time. Seeing the ordinary in wide-eyed technicolour — the enormous miniature ecosystems crawling across our pavements, the laughter of children playing to our left, or the spontaneous kindness of strangers. If we approach our moments with a beginner’s mind, everyday life becomes the novel wonderland it’s meant to be.
Ancient in spirit, youthful at heart. Together, these outlooks allow you to weather life’s storms and changes of pace while never losing your capacity for awe. You can dwell in the timeless while being fully in the present. With one foot firm and one foot free, walking in a path of balance.