It seems a little hypocritical of me to write to you about stillness, because honestly, stillness and I are only really just becoming aquatinted. Like properly!
For the longest time, stillness existed only as a room. A room with the door wide open, clean, light and fragrant. Open and spacious with wide windows and speckled light. And yet, with all it’s beauty, I felt like stillness might offer me beauty and then once I was in there, all hell would break loose and it would become a dark forest, like all the fairytales would have us see.
I would walk past this room, time and time again, usually with arms filled with clothes for the laundry or I’d rush past on my way out the door, scurrying kids in front of me.
Sometimes I would stand near the doorway.
I’d stand there shallow breathing and sneak my head around the corner to catch a glimpse of the beauty, promising myself that after I had done ‘all the things’ and when I was ’emotionally prepared’ for what it may offer me, I would be able to retreat there. But still, I was afraid of what I might find!
Often the scent of stillness would sweep like a feather under my nose and I’d find myself lifting my head, eyes closed and I’d seem to lose control of my body finding myself drifting toward the room. Effortlessly floating on a warm river current.
Then, just before I cross the threshold, my eyes would open and start gasping inhaling water from the river, coughing and spluttering.
“Idiot! You don’t have time for stillness”, my mind whispers sinisterly, ‘There are far more important things to be doing than sitting in that room doing nothing for christ sake”. Louder and louder it tends to get. “Stillness is for other people who aren’t as busy as you”. And, “What does stillness really give you anyway, does it earn you any money?”
It wasn’t until several illnesses, a surgery and the potential fatal illness in our daughter compounding on top of each other, when I was shoved in the middle of my shoulder blades into this mysterious room of stillness. Tripping and stumbling as I was shoved repeatedly, I found myself flat on the floor looking up, unable to move. Literally.
Stillness welcomed me, like I imagine the father of the prodigal daughter welcomed her. Arms were wide, welcoming me in, like the dawn each morning as it welcomes the sun.
“Ive been waiting for you sweet one. Stay as long as you need”, whispered stillness. “You have much to find here that will fill your soul”.
I’d been so afraid of stillness, for so so long. Scared she would share with me truths that once known, couldn’t be unknown. Afraid she would lure all my monsters to the fore and I would be taken down and defeated by the brutality that exists in the dark recesses.
As I lay, unable to move, unable to fight, the monsters, they did come, just as I’d expected. And, interestingly they went again. I watched them march in, stomping and threatening. My monsters are mean. Angry. And my monsters are timid and afraid. I watched them. I heard them. And just as stillness had offered me space to be, I so did to my monsters.
We sat, all together and soon, the monsters after roaring and snarling. But intriguingly, with some space, started to whimper and sob. And soon, they left.
Stillness smiled and I smiled back. She began to share her wisdom and I listened. She showed me truth. Truth that I was so afraid of, and yet when it was shown, freed me from my suffering. She shares a kind of wisdom that I believed was only available to the masters, the sages and the enlightened.
Our culture is quick to look to someone else to tell us what is best for our life, when what is true, is that only I know what is best for mine and you know what is best for you. Only many of us have forgotten how to follow the breadcrumbs home to our truths.
Stillness waits now, not just in a room, but in the next step I take in front of me. Beside me when I turn to look at the trees. Above me as I gaze at the sky. On me, as I feel the clothes on my skin. She is everywhere and invites me to be with her. To stay for a while. And when I listen, I find what I seek and sometimes I don’t.
But there is something that is magical about stillness and her wise presence. Something that adds a vibrancy to my experience, one that I was really skeptical about. I notice I am less agitated when I spend time with her and more calm and more….aware of what is good for me.
I notice that when I spend time in stillness, things that trouble me, seem to drift away. Ideas come more freely and a sense of ‘care but don’t care’ falls around me.
May you find the answers to your questions, by visiting the wisdom that is your own stillness.