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Distracted by Life

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. Kahlil Gibran

I haven’t been inspired to write recently. Or more accurately, I haven’t been inspired to write for publication. Nothing is wrong exactly. I’m only just busy... simply living with the bustle of personal endeavors.

My desk has become a symbol of this cluttered activity. Two books on one corner raise a spiritual altar: A Bible, my foundational scripture and The Wisdom of China and India, the scriptures of my later awakening. Two crystal pyramids hold yin yang energy along with two writing sticks that spoke to me on hikes. A favorite sea glyph – my name for fragments of shell with etchings that look to me all the world like hieroglyphs or Ogham etchings. They tell stories of heroes, heroines, and truth, I’m sure of it. A spray of pine needles from the old tree we recently had to take down. Framed on the opposite side with my lamp is a business card holder, a thermometer, and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran in journal format tenderly illustrated with works by the multi-gifted author. My laptop also resides here.

But the single most distracting thing is my to do list. These itemized reminders are secured on a small artisan-created clipboard of smooth richly toned wood ~ an object of pleasure itself and sweet remembrances of the friend who gave it to me. But the list…the list grows hour by hour, calling me to Get. Things. Done.

You know, just ordinary things. Call my cable company to see why our internet connection is getting slower and slower. Do laundry and iron. (Yes, I still iron. I love the crisp smell of clean fresh fabric as it transforms from wrinkled to smooth.) Scrub the outside fountains. Schedule a new doctor to check my hearing. (What’s that you say???) Pickle the peppers we have so fortunately been given by friends who like to garden. Prepare chicken stock to freeze for future soups. Plant the orchids that have multiplied. Prompts to call friends, write thank you notes, send birthday cards. These ~ and more ~ are all worthy things. Important even!

Yet, it is the empty fullness of quiet that I crave. I long for the stillness of simple Beingness. Mindful in that centered place of my Soul where Real resides and where words tumble freshly from deep Truths uncovered there. Space of Time uninterrupted by thoughts of things to do. The place that allows ponderings or no pondering at all.

Ah, Space Time - one of the ponderable mysteries of physics that stretches my mind to understand what my Soul knows. I exist in the unsplitable framework of Space Time, hurtling forward along its geometrically expanding edge. Science describes a cosmos of unending enigmas even as the James Webb Telescope unwinds an undreamed-of artistry.

Every once in a while, especially driving down a dark highway at night, I can physically feel Space and Time on my skin as I race through it. This touch of eternity compels me to know my own aliveness. In the embrace of this bodily sense of Space Time I wonder newly at life. Looking at the stars – the uncountable billions of stars – on a clear night animates the same sense of aliveness and being. Is this Dark Matter that I’m soaring in?

Recently I found myself away from my desk, watching the clear Tuckasegee River in the North Carolina mountains. A low cascade tumbles in its own Space Time, the peaceful river-flow of water that knows itself well. It’s late afternoon and the October sun angles its way to warm my waiting arms. But the closer I get to the river, a cooler temperature reminds me that really, it is autumn, and to be sure I don’t forget the season, a brief wind flurries leaves that swirl ever so gently to the water. They drift down to be caught by ripples and continue a journey to a where that only the river knows.

But there is a huge distraction here. Just behind the porch deck where I sit is a major four-lane highway. The steep incline of this mountain road forces big trucks to brake noisily on their downward trek and makes smaller quarry trucks shift gears in what seems like endless racket on their way up. The combined din periodically obliterates the serene rustle of the river. It’s the juxtaposition of this river and the highway that captivates me with its parallel to my own noisy life.

Because, you see, the river doesn’t seem to mind all the commotion. It knows itself and with unflustered grace continues to ripple and gurgle and be River.

That is my lesson for today from the Tuck, as locals affectionally call this river: live unencumbered by the hustle around me. Let all things be as they will be. Allow each activity on my list to frame my Life with pleasure because at my Soul Center I just flow. And like the river, let peaceful falling leaves come with me.

I wrote this shortly before new atrocities in the Middle East erupted from eons of old animosities. It is not the only place in this world where angry emotions are tipping into violence. My own country is filled with conflict that I would have thought impossible just a few years ago. It is another reason writing has been difficult for me recently. I do not wish to argue here or create my own conflict. So I hold out a deep hope of goodness. I believe that at the heart level most of us want peace for the children, for our families, for ourselves. And I believe that the peace of this Earth will be found in that still small place in our hearts where Love survives. May you find that place in your own soul and help bring others to their own place of peace and happiness and safety.

Original photography by Dorothy Barkley Bryson. October 2023. "The Tuck" in Dillsboro, NC.

TO CONNNECT. I would love to hear from you and learn how this piece (or any of my other writings here) resonate with you and your journey to finding your own deepest self, your own Real. While these writings are about my path, my hope is that they shine light for yours. You can email me directly at or you can also simply subscribe via the home page of this website. May peace and happiness be yours, always.

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