Discovering Ease in Stillness

November 27, 2015

I’ve always considered myself to be a particularly restless individual, feeling most at ease when I was doing something that I considered productive or eventful. I fear wasting time. Let me boldly rephrase that last statement and broaden it to include, “the majority of human beings fear wasting time.” Time–so precious and frightfully limited in this hurried lifecycle we share.

And so I ask myself, almost incessantly, is what I’m doing in this instant a waste of my so dearly valued time? Or perhaps better formulated, is what I am doing in this instant worth my valued time?

I have been referring to China over and over again as a journey, which can be defined as an act of traveling from one place to another. An act, which can synonymously be considered movement. In the past, I always perceived movement as eventful, and therefore, time worthy.

When I am not teaching or traveling, there are hours on end when my own thoughts and silence encompass me.

However, despite the eventful China posts and blogs that I have carefully chosen to expose you to, that is just a small peak into the scope of my life here. I have never spent as much time alone in my life as I have here in China. It’s true that I have 1,000+ students and have met a great many new faces on my travels. However, when I am not teaching or traveling, there are hours on end when my own thoughts and silence encompass me. There is stillness here. A still isolation I seldom experienced before.

That brings me back to the question, is what I’m doing in this instant worth my valued time? It comes as no surprise that still isolation is not eventful and can be unproductive. But it does come as a surprise, at least to me, that I find that this still isolation is as worth my time as eventful movement.

I am learning to appreciate my time doing nothing in a way I always appreciated my time doing something, because in doing nothing I feel that I have a fuller grasp on time itself–a grasp that lets me hold onto a moment a little longer, and that is most definitely worth my valued time.

China has helped me identify one more sense of ease. I have discovered ease in stillness.

About Kirsten Bates

Kirsten is currently keeping a blog on the site WordPress of her experiences in China. She graduated from the College of St. Benedict this past December with a major in Biology and a minor in Communication. She worked seven months at an Architect/Engineering firm in Minnesota before joining the program WorldTeach. She has past experience traveling as she studied abroad in Italy and Greece. She also traveled to many other countries in Europe. This is her first time traveling in China. For her, the experience is different, to say the least.

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