The power of stillness
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
There's a time to move and a time to be still. Read this post and learn how to know which time it is...
In the fast paced world we live in, it's so easy to discount the power of being still. Notice I didn't say 'standing still'; I said BEING still. There's a difference. When you're being still, you might be taking action. You might be meditating. You might be hustling like nobody's business. You might also be taking a nap or eating breakfast in bed. The point is simple: being still is a state of being, not a definite action (or level of inaction)... and there's power in giving yourself time and space in your daily and weekly schedule to BE still.
Calm is a superpower...
Every soul innately yearns for stillness, for a space, a garden where we can till, sow, reap, and rest, and by doing so come to a deeper sense of self and our place in the universe. Silence is not an absence but a presence, not an emptiness but a repletion, a filling up. - Anne Leclaire
Your ability to experience anything and everything in a calm and centered state is a superpower... and it's a superpower that has to be cultivated over time. You have to teach yourself how to be still so you can then show yourself that, under any circumstance, you can remain calm. The question becomes: How do you teach yourself to be still in a world that wants you to rush and hurry about?
How to cultivate the habit of stillness...
To cultivate the habit of BEING still, you need to get good with two things: silence and being alone with your own thoughts.
Here are 3 ways that you can do that:
1. Make meditation a daily habit.
Begin with 5 minutes. Use an app like Headspace or calm. Before you go to bed, lie down and listen to the sound of the heater or the air condition and set your alarm for 5 minutes. There are so many forms of meditation and ways to begin the habit. It doesn't matter which one you choose. Choose an approach and give yourself 30 consecutive days to practice.
2. Take yourself out on an artist date at least one time per week.
Julia Cameron talks about the idea of an artist date in her book The Artist's Way. The idea is simple:
" The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it." - Julia Cameron
Going on a solo expedition gives you space, time and room to experience sacred time with yourself. No chatter from other people, no doing what other people want- no- you spend time with yourself which gives you time and space to reflect and listen to your intuition.
3. When in doubt, pause.
One of my favorite quotes says the following:
Practice the Pause...
When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.
When life goes haywire, it's tempting to go haywire with it. As necessary as panicking, freaking out and throwing a temper tantrum may seem at the time, the best thing you can do when life storms arrive is practice the pause. Yes, in the moment, it will feel like you don't have the luxury of taking a break. Yes, it will feel like you have to rush to a decision and rush to take an action. That's emotion talking. At the end of the day, here's what's true: NO decision has to be made today. You have every right and should take to pause, especially in stressful situations.
There's power in stillness. There's power in being able to stand in a space (in any given moment of your life) and give yourself room to get clear on what you want, what you need, and what to do next. Devoting daily time to stillness is not an option in this fast-paced world we live in. If you want to be at peak performance level consistently, if you want to make optimal decisions and live with vitality, energy and focus, you have to cultivate the habit of being still. If you don't create the space for stillness now, life will force you to do so later.
Either way, you choose...