Rumi mantra helps: Letting the waters settle

Posted 5/8/24

A while back my column on affirmations aired, citing the uplifting personal statements I recited daily. In all honesty, saying I faithfully address them each day is a stretch. Lately I’ve …

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Rumi mantra helps: Letting the waters settle


A while back my column on affirmations aired, citing the uplifting personal statements I recited daily. In all honesty, saying I faithfully address them each day is a stretch. Lately I’ve fallen by the wayside with this exercise.

I was pleased to receive positive reader feedback on the column. Keeping those uplifting responses in mind, I want to share that in a small but influential way I have made a change. It all started with a new affirmation that I find myself eagerly reciting every day, several times a day. It’s from my favorite poet, scholar, theologian, Sufi mystic, Rumi, and it has enhanced my life greatly.

“Let the waters settle and you will see the moon and stars mirrored in your own being.”

“Let the waters settle,” have been the most empowering words I’ve committed to in a long time. While I work at not getting annoyed or anxious over stuff, I haven’t mastered the art of angst-free days. But keeping that inspiring concept in mind has greatly reduced the amount of time I devote to useless, self-imposed fretting.

I admit to reading far too many articles on successful aging. Most are pretty good and have similar suggestions that I agree with and try to practice. I even write about a few of the ideas I think are worth passing along to you. Good diet, regular exercise, relationships are aging concepts I strive to incorporate in my daily life.

Tapping into the Rumi quote has helped me rein in stressors, as these examples show. 

Sometimes I slip up and get a bit over the top with negative self-talk. “You ate too many cookies, you could have walked a bit faster, you should have called Mary and set up a lunch date.” Well, thanks to Rumi, I have learned to manage the gloomy stuff. “Let the waters settle” I tell myself and immediately the internal voice calms. After one more cookie I call Mary about lunch and come to terms with walking slower.

I haven’t flown at all lately and can’t say I miss the airport congestion and delays, the long flights, lost luggage. With door plugs flying off planes, wings catching fire, and unstable people as possible seatmates, I don’t want to jet off anywhere. On the other hand, all my children and grandchildren fly everywhere. While I’d think twice about boarding a plane, the younger generation doesn’t let stuff they can’t control stand in their way. Truthfully, I’m glad.

But this old gal is a little susceptible to getting agitated over the what-ifs. When I know one of my kiddos is in the air, I’m anxious. Having Rumi’s words has been a godsend for teaching me personal peace and making space to enjoy happy, independent children.

As with most families, unsolicited health issues crop up. I want to fix them all. Researching into the wee hours I can exhaust myself reading reams of data, exploring statistics, going over case histories. Recently, after one of my hours-long probing sessions produced little new information even as it delivered lost sleep, I remembered my commitment. I stretched back, letting the waters settle, allowing my mind to settle. Immediately I knew I’d done my best and worry would add nothing except a migraine.

And what can this senior do to help our struggling environment? I watch with great distress as trees are destroyed and safe critter resting places are exposed. Huge houses appear reinforcing the sad human sense of entitlement. I stress over displaced wildlife.

Allowing the turbulent inner waters to calm, I vow to keep my house small and yard open, a safe sanctuary for four-legged visitors.

Comedian John Mulaney said, “Some of the things I was anxious about as a kid don’t bother me at all anymore. Like I always thought quicksand was going to be a much bigger problem than it turned out to be.”

Some of our senior worries can turn out to be less of a problem as well. Let the waters settle.

Carole Marshall is a former columnist and feature writer for a national magazine. She’s had stories published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and has written two novels and one fitness book.