Stay Still: Embracing Tranquility in a Restless World
"Stay still," the father said while placing his hand on his son's knee to get him to stop tapping the ground with his feet as they sat.
Every Saturday morning, the father and son spend time on the bench behind their neighborhood walking trail overlooking the hill below them, sprouting with flowers to the shallow river below.
Taking in the view of the river from where they were seated, the father asked his son, "Do you feel that?"
With a confused look, the son tilts his head toward his father and says, "Feel what?"
With a slight laugh, the father tells his son, "Sit still, close your eyes, and breathe for a moment."
The son anxiously opens his eyes and asks his father, "Is it true what mom said about you?" after sitting still and breathing for a few seconds.
"It depends," he replies, pauses, then asks, "What did she say?"
"Mom said you come here every Saturday because you and Grandpa did before he passed away," the son replied.
With a thoughtful expression, the father looks at his hands as he rubs them together, then glances up and over to his son and says, "She's right, your grandfather taught me something significant on the same bench you and I are sitting on right now."
Looking at his father in an excited, curious tone, he replies, "Really? This exact bench?"
His excitement was evident as he asked, "What lesson did Grandpa teach you?"
Laughing at his son's excitement, the father instructs him. "Now, since you want to know so badly," he says as he sits upright on the bench, "Do what I do and tell you to do."
On command, his son begins to mimic his every move.
While looking around the neighborhood walking trail in a circular motion, the father instructs his son, "Point out something north, south, east, and west of you."
Taking a look around, his son begins pointing at various objects.
"Tell me what you hear from those directions," the father asks.
In those directions, his son listens intently to what is happening around him and tells his father.
After his son finished, he asked, "Now, what do you smell from those directions?"
His son sniffs the scent with his nose, flurrying it up, and tells his father.
"Now for the last two," the father says, "grab something from each of those directions."
His son begins touching things from each direction - north, west, south - and since his father is seated east of him, he jokingly palms the bald spot on his father's head.
As they laugh, the father says, "OK, last one, what do you taste?"
After repeatedly pressing his tongue against the roof of his mouth, he yells, "Ah, Mom's delicious blueberry pancakes," and then laughs.
The father laughed at the son's response, "They are good, huh?"
After the laughter has died down, a moment of quiet settles in as they sit facing forward on the bench. The son turns to his father and asks confusedly, "So, what was the lesson?"
Laughing slightly, the father looks down at his lap, then at his son. "That was it. That was the lesson."
"That's it?" The son asks with his hands thrown up in confusion.
In response to his son's confused look, the father says, "Son, you learned how to find peace." Then he turns toward the hill below them, sprouting with flowers to the shallow river, and states, "Now, it's up to you to keep it."
🔑 Peace begins with learning how to find it; once it is found, it must be kept. As we slow down and shut out distractions, we can intentionally activate our five senses to live in the present and create the best possible future, which becomes our portal to the world as we move from observing our lives to taking part in them.