I remember the moment in early summer, seated in a car with my coach, parked on a side street in LA, with the summer air already warm and sticky. This woman, with fiery red hair and dancing eyes, turned towards me from the driver’s seat, and with the confidence that comes when someone KNOWS, she told me to expect my life to get messy. Very messy. And that I would learn to embrace screaming, crying, jumping, running, and, even…..stillness.
All that she mentioned was familiar to me, until she mentioned….stillness.
I don’t do stillness.
The thought of it actually makes me shudder.
As she doled out the questions in that familiar dance of desire-based coaching, I began to vomit out the words that detailed all the major life shifts that were happening over the next 4 months. Yeah, things were going to get messy. And believe it or not, the stillness was the key piece in my game.
Stillness was staying in a compressed room of energy movement once a month with over 150 other individuals, allowing myself to see the places in my life that could use attention. It was that kind of noticing that packs a punch in your gut, the deep inner knowing that change is coming. I fought this stillness both in my physical body and in my mind.
Each month, I gained more ability to stay present in the room. I was on a journey of incremental steps, beginning with leaving the room, only to return a few hours later, spent from tears and turmoil from deep inside me. Next was a litany of reasons why I simply must leave early, boarding pass in hand as some tangible proof that I needed to walk away from these sensations that were gouging my soul. Finally, standing next to peers that I allowed to hold my hand, to whisper affirmations in my ear, to allow my tears to be witnessed.
Stillness was packing my things from a house into containers for holding. Holding space for me while I prepared for passage into being a mother of two young ladies who were beginning their own adult lives. It was sitting still and holding pieces of paper collected over years. I examined myself and discovered the me that was ready to emerge out of being mother, teacher, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend. In this stillness, I realized that I had everything I needed to remember and love my motherhood, and these pieces were no longer necessary. Sorting, sifting, letting go of what no longer served my higher good.
Stillness was being seated in a small theater on a rainy evening and watching a play. Just me. Just because I wanted to see it. And it happened because I arranged everything, paid for my ride, my ticket, chose the date and time, and loved every moment! Being still in that space let me notice how I could use my breath to relax, to feel my body in the room, to stay present as a member of an audience, to transport my awareness of the dilemmas presented on stage. I relished the opportunity to turn off my phone, to have no distractions in my mind.
Stillness was commitment to a daily meditation practice through the end of the year. I can argue my way out of anything with busy-ness, not feeling like it, ranking something else as more important, being in the midst of an emotionally charged feelings, etc. Now a deeper awareness of why I argue is happening in this meditative stillness and I am finding approval for me. I am learning to see myself in process, instead of seeing all the ways I do not measure up.
Stillness is appearing at every spot in my life as I take time to notice. As my tantric practices continue, this is where I allow my soul to be completely naked. Learning to be fully present and seen by the most important person: me!
- Taking time to eat my meals instead of shoving food while doing something else.
- Planned rest days during my fitness/race training and seeing where my body needs something different.
- Scheduled time for reading and writing instead of dismissing as something I “can’t do.”
- Designed dates with more connection, fewer interruptions, more sensation!
Stillness has become my vehicle of awareness. Don’t get me wrong, I still have crying, screaming, jumping, running happening! Stillness is not the absence of movement, but presence in the midst of activity. Becoming aware of my own feelings, seeing my conditioned patterns, cultivating exquisite attention and having that important nod of approval from myself, are ways that stillness has revealed my own brilliance.