Even if your heart is breaking, its waiting for you to awaken, And someday you will- learn to be still.
Can I take a second and be honest here? We are constantly told stillness is good for us. I’m a therapist and teaching mindfulness is a large part of my practice. I believe it in wholeheartedly. BUT stillness is hard for me. No really, taking time, coming to a stop, emptying your mind; it’s all really difficult! I’ve been preaching the message of stillness for years and I still struggle. However, don’t lose hope my friends! Being still may be hard but it’s worth the effort.
So let’s talk about a few obstacles to embracing stillness and how to overcome them.
Are you busy? I know I am. I work a full-time job. I also run a blog, take voice lessons, participate in religious meetings two times a week, and . Oh and then in my heaps of spare time I meal prep, cram in a work out, and attempt, (and often fail), to have a social life. While my week feels jam packed I must admit I have it easy as a single person. Those of you with partners and children have that and so much more to fit into your day!
On the other side of the coin, I really like being busy! My brain is constantly going in a positive way. I am dreaming up ideas, setting goals, learning something new, and my head is filled with so much goodness that standing still feels like a waste! Who has time for stillness?
I do. You do. We all do. First of all, come to peace with the fact that you will always be busy. What is the saying, “you can sleep when you’re dead?” Busy is a choice I’ve made. I’m ok with that choice. You should be at peace with it too.
However, I have to admit I waste time too. I can distract myself a million different ways from a task. Oh a new episode of my favorite show? Sorry blog entry, I’ll be back. Hilarious memes from a coworker? Yep, work can wait a minute. The list of ways I can waste minutes to hours abounds. And what about those brilliant ideas, and goals I’m thinking up? Oh yeah, put some new fluff novel in front of me and that all goes out the window. I say all this to say, no matter how busy we are. There is time to be still.
Here’s how I try to overcome this; I set my alarm 10 mins before bedtime. This is my “learn to be still” time. I use those 10 minutes to meditate, or do some night time stretching/yoga routine. I listen to relaxing music. My phone is set on silent and I do not let anyone interrupt this time. I may not always be able to dedicate hours to a stillness practice, but it hard to justify to myself why I cannot dedicate 10 minutes.
I can tell myself a lot of perceived positive reasons why I struggle with stillness (i’m too busy goal setting or I’m working hard on a project), but in all honesty, there are also a few negative reasons I avoid stillness. Being still can hurt, both physically and emotionally. Sometimes standing still brings up all the feelings I’ve been avoiding. Stillness can bring with it a level of confrontation I know I don’t always want to face. Many days I’m pain. I have chronic back, hip, knee and foot pain, I have baby carpel tunnel. I get migraines often. I fight with the symptoms of my PCOS diagnosis. As long as I’m running around, I can make the pain stay in the background. The minute I am still I realize how much I’m aching!
Then there is the emotional pain. When I’m still and checking in sometimes past hurts and disappointments creep in. All my regrets from the day may surface. My mind will wander to, I shouldn’t have eaten that or why did I skip my workout? When those feelings show up, my instinct is to run. I may not run fast in real life, but when it comes to dodging my problems I’m Usain Bolt! And I don’t think I’m alone here.
Many of us stay busy because it stops us from facing problems we may have in our lives.
So how do we overcome this one?
What’s that saying; “Sometimes the only way out is through.” Pain has a purpose. It’s our bodies way of telling us to do something. I work hard at embracing this philosophy. And most of the time it works. No one wants to face loss, or hurt, but the only way to move forward is to sit in it for a minute. Being still gives us time to embrace the pain. It provides moments to acknowledge what hurts and then listen in stillness for the answer. Many times taking a moment to be still actually helps. Feelings bubble up, but after I sit with them, I feel better.
I mentioned before that I’m often in physical pain, taking time to be still reminds me to listen to my body. Ignoring my aches sometimes makes things worse. When I sit still I remember to adjust my posture for my back or to rub my shoulders. Yes I may get flashes of a poor decision I’ve made in a day, but I also acknowledge the mistake, and take a moment to troubleshoot so tomorrow will find me making better choices. I let stillness give me the space to feel whatever it is I need to feel. Here’s the funny thing I’ve discovered; If you learn to be still, you’ll find that those painful feelings are few and far between. Sit with the stillness; go through the pain and most times you will find your way out.
Take heart and let’s do this together! We can embrace the moment. We can make space for a well deserved time out. Facing our hurts and disappointments won’t break us! Life won’t rush on without us I promise. So let’s take some time and learn to be still!
Comment below and let me know how you’re injecting stillness into your life!