Action as a Spiritual Practice


woman_calmMY BACKUP DIED. Well, at least that’s what the Genius Bar at Apple told me, Western Digital confirmed and the Chipheads speculated the same. Amidst the unknown, the uncertainty, the curiosity and the frustration, one thing remained constant — taking action produces results and taking action also creates peace.

I have a high value around action, so it’s something I’ve been playing with lately — noticing my desire or supposed need for action, noticing my frustrations when action isn’t being taken (by myself or others), and observing my responses to action and alleged inaction. I’ve also been noticing what constitutes conscious action, and what constitutes running in circles to avoid taking any conscious action.

What I’ve come to understand for my own self is that “doing nothing” looks and feels very different than “holding still.” When I am in a place of fear, I might choose to avoid, push away, and do nothing. When I am in my power, I might choose to address full on what’s troubling me and still remain in a place of stillness. It’s in the conscious stillness that direction, clarity and focus get created.

So, my computer backup was supposedly dead, which left me with choices. I could do nothing, avoid, walk the other way, or I could sit in my discomfort and find stillness. I chose the latter. After sitting still with a non-functioning backup, and feeling what it would feel like to lose all of the information that was on it (most of which I couldn’t recall anyway), I found my clarity.

After 30 minutes at the Genius Bar, Apple suggested I call the company that made the product to get their two cents. On my way home, I stopped at OfficeMax and purchased a new drive just in case. And then I sat still. Leaving the new drive in the packaging, I called the company that made the dead drive. Their two cents? It was dead, still under warranty, and they’d gladly replace it, but I’d lose all my data unless I wanted to hire a third party for data transfer.

For a while, I ran in circles — trying to troubleshoot the issue myself, resistant to paying a lot of money for data transfer, and not yet at peace with losing my entire backup. Taking a deep breath, I consciously stopped spinning and chose to get curious. What did it mean to have a dead backup? What would I miss on the dead backup, if anything? What was the next step?

We are amazing creatures. We spin in circles, we hold still, we distract ourselves from feeling, we go in straight lines because we’re told to do so, we buck the system and move in odd shapes like curves and trapezoids, we go backwards, we’re rigid, we’re flexible, we’re human.

Letting go of the psychic energy of worrying and wondering is what brought me peace. After getting prices on data transfer and also trying to do it myself, I came to the simple conclusion that I didn’t know what I was going to be missing.

Hooking up my new drive, I backed up my system and smiled at the ease I had created from getting clear. Packing up the dead drive, I kissed my data goodbye, and sent it on its way back to the company.

When I consciously take action, I have a sense of accomplishment. When I consciously hold still, I am still taking action and I have the same sense of accomplishment. When I spin in circles, I feel out of control, unfocused, and a little bit amused with myself — like a puppy chasing its tail until it finally gets dizzy and falls down in exhaustion to make another choice.

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