I think 99 times and I find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence,
and the truth comes to me
– Albert Einstein.
“Can we be quiet enough to hear ourselves, through the noise, the endless noise of expectation? Who are we when we slow down? Who are we when we listen to ourselves rather than the voices of others? Who would we be if we followed what we know, rather than follow what we ‘should’? Who will accept us, allow us and value us as our imperfect, wild, soft, sharp, sad, impatient, joyful, angry, messy self?
So no wonder it feels scary to invite in Stillness. Slowing down connects us to parts of ourself that we have learned to hide, to bury, in order to fit-in, feel loved, be accepted. The belief has become that connecting with those smothered parts will undo the life we have worked so hard to construct: We will become too much, too little, too angry, too resentful, unleashed, out of control. And that will leave us unloved, alone, rejected”.
Does any of this resonate? The above is a stream of consciousness after reading Jessie Harold’s blogs. I was researching body image as a topic of interest for my Staying On Track workshops. Her words reminded me how hard it is to be with parts of ourself we don’t know how to love, that we feel disconnected from and have learnt to ignore. And that led me to how scary it can be to think about slowing down for fear that we will be forced to confront those unwelcome parts.
So how, in this epidemic of busy do we find respite if not within ourselves? Can we find Stillness in Doing? Can we be busy, but in an intentional rather than reactive way? Can our Stillness be in movement, connection, creativity?
Maybe what Stillness allows is the moment, the pause that allows us to make decisions more intentionally. Maybe that’s the practice: Allowing the pause. Practicing being with the uncomfortable feeling of not-knowing, of being unsure, and not jumping in to fill the space it creates. Acknowledging the ignored parts are there, without adding additional responsibility to do something about it.
I started off thinking this post would be about how to create Stillness. What has emerged is something else. I’m not sure what entirely. But what I want to leave you with is the thought that Stillness or slowing down, can come in many forms. Sometimes we need the busy and the distraction. Sometimes we are not ready to be with certain parts of ourself, or the changes they may lead us to. So do what feels right.
If you want to work on practicing the Pause, I have found Pema Chödrön to be helpful. Personally I have found her words compassionate, wise and gentle. Her words have helped me connect with ignored parts of myself, and face my fears of being my authentic self. The written word has always been helpful for me in slowing down and reflecting.
I invite you to find what helps you connect to yourself, whether it’s words, a creative activity, connection with a friend, neighbour or colleague, a run, or a spin class (never done this, but have heard how much it can help people step out of the busy brain into a more reflective brain space), a walk in the woods…
Wishing the Stillness that works for you in our Age of Busy.