Dr. Evelyn Bilias Lolis
As a society we really don’t put too much stock in waiting for the dust to settle. We are eager and anxious to seize the unknown, tackle the problem, and eliminate the source of stress. We often romanticize this seize and equate it to personal badassery.
In fact, the very thought of allowing things to unfold is not an honorable option.
We don’t like to sit too long in the unknown, the complicated, or the worrisome. In this part of the world particularly, just “sitting” equates to idling...and idling is anything but productive, desirable, or strong. So, we seize. We tackle.
The complicated, however, is an interesting sensei. Meant to naturally unfold over time, the complicated becomes a suppressed paradox that arouses and infuriates us. We need to know. Like, now. We need to know in order to act and better control. And we love love love to control. Our goal thus becomes to unveil the complex as quickly as possible and not to de-tangle it piece by piece.
What if in de-tangling the complex we learn more about ourselves/others than we can ever learn through a swift grand reveal? What if the answer truly requires waiting (and observing) for every particle of that dust to settle? Is there something to be said about “sitting with” matters as opposed to fixing or controlling them?
I have been thinking (or shall I say overthinking) about my complicated (i.e., the complicated in my own life). My analytical intuitiveness invites me to aggressively attack and conquer; to extract both its essence and find its solution in record time. Even better, it begs me to figure out my present and solve the future simultaneously.
In a moment of pause this morning this little insight hit me like a ton of bricks: it is okay to “sit” with the complicated. And I mean just sit. Not poke. Not pry. Not solve. Just sit. This is especially true if the complicated involves a person or relationship. It is okay to choose to keep the complicated company and to appreciate not knowing where things will pan out. You may think since the complicated doesn’t give us immediacy or any insta-gratification--why keep it company?
Think of a time when you just sat with a loved one who wasn’t feeling well or was going through a crisis; a time when all you could offer was your presence and your company. Would you consider this response idle? No. You probably considered it an act of love and compassion. There is nothing passive about “sitting with” and keeping someone or something company.
So friends, I encourage you to cease fire on your own complicated whether it be your career, kids, significant other, love interest, family, future, or whatever else constitutes your personal ‘complicated’ right now. Put down the pen and playbook. Curb the itch to fix. Instead, sit with it. Listen to it. Keep it company. Let it teach you about yourself and how to be more present in all that is going on around you and within you.
Do you have a loved one going through their own complicated? Teach them that it is okay to just "sit” with it. This is especially powerful for children and teens who think we need them to act and have everything figured out all the time.
Imagine how much kindness we can offer up to ourselves and others if we give ourselves/ those whom we love permission to just “sit.” The world doesn't need your immediate answers. It needs your presence.