Still

Dr_ Dre ft_ Snoop Dogg - Still D_R_E“Still rock my khakis with a cuff and a crease. Still got love for the streets, repping 213. Still the beat bangs. Still doing my thang. Since I left, ain’t too much changed. Still.” – Dr. Dre, Still D.R.E.

Still (adjective): remaining in place or at rest; motionless; stationary.

When was the last time you stood still, without moving, just stood there thinking whatever thoughts were in your head but not acting on them, just stood there listening to the silence, or the noise, or whatever else was going on around you? It feels good to do that every once in a while, but it gets harder and harder to do in this rapid-paced world in which we live every day of our lives. Even if you don’t live in a major city like Tokyo or Mexico City, it’s difficult to pause the world and its influence long enough to reflect.

And yet, reflection is the most important part of life, thinking about what we do before we do it, while we’re doing it, and after we do it, instead of flitting from one thing to the next with no chance to think about our reasoning or motivation for them. While I was studying possible questions for a job interview a few weeks ago it hit me: it’s tough to figure out, to define, and to verbalize my motivations. I know on a deep level why I do what I do, what my strengths and weaknesses are in a general sense, but how do I bring that up to the surface?

Some people use meditation, while others brainstorm everything they can think of that can even remotely be related to themselves. Still more people just say what they think others want to hear without even trying to dig deep to figure it out. I like meditation because it allows me to be still and focus. It’s also why I think yoga is making a comeback, with its breathing techniques and emphasis on body control. By closing my eyes, staying immaculately still, and allowing my mind to work free from distraction, I was able to really hone in on my talents, on my opportunities, and on how I should talk about both. Being still is productive.

But Dr. Dre was talking about still being relevant, about still doing things his way and being appreciated for it, even after being out of “the game” for a while.

Still (adverb): at this or that time; as previously.

I have a friend who I hadn’t seen for a year in person, and had only talked to a few times over the phone in that intervening span of time, but when I saw her again a couple of months ago it was almost like we had never been apart. It was all still there, the give and take, the witty repartee, the inside jokes, and the earnest way she wanted to know how things were with me. And even though we hadn’t seen each other in forever, it was almost like we didn’t have to, because we had spent so much time together we knew each other inside and out. Yes, we had changed in many ways during that year, but to paraphrase the song, we still rocked our khakis with a cuff and a crease.

We all have things that make us uniquely us. I say “or something” after a lot of phrases, and I greet other guys by lowering my head in a semblance of a nod. I still drink my cereal milk off of the spoon, no matter how many times I have to raise it to my mouth, and I smile more often than not. All of those things people wrote about me in my high school yearbooks are all still true. Perhaps you would call it my essence that still shines through, and it makes me… me. Whether or not others see beyond that it’s okay because I know that I’m more than just the sum of my parts. Still.

“I’m representing for the gangsters all across the world. Still hitting them corners in them low low’s girl. Still taking my time to perfect the beat, and I still got love for the streets.”

Maybe Lionel Richie talked about it best when it comes to love, all that stuff about being together a long time but still loving the person they were, the person they are, and the person they’re becoming. But it starts at home, with knowing ourselves and appreciating the nuances that make us who we are. It doesn’t always have to be about changing behaviors or ideas, but we do need to understand why we do what we do or we will never fully understand or appreciate ourselves. When was the last time you stood still, closed your eyes, and tried to define who you are in words or impressions? Take time today to analyze yourself and your motivations, to be still, and you might be surprised at the answers that come.

Sam

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