Learn To Be Still

Even if your heart is breaking, its waiting for you to awaken, And someday you will- learn to be still.

The Eagles

 

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.

Being Still Takes Time

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?

The Answer

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.

Being Still Can Be Painful

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?

The answer

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.

The Takeaway

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!

20 COMMENTS

  1. Torii | 7th Aug 17

    I love this post! I usually do some yoga before bed and it makes me so much more relaxed.

  2. Zade | 8th Aug 17

    100% agreed, stillness is a CHALLANGE, but so worth it. I’m sitting outside now eating lunch (instead of at my desk in front of my computer)–one trick I use to still myself. Thanks for the great reminder!!

    • Guide To Get Lost | 8th Aug 17

      Look at you go! Putting stillness into practice right as you type this!

  3. Ella | 8th Aug 17

    lovely post, what an important reminder. Love the heart behind this post, so genuine!

  4. Tosin Moji | 8th Aug 17

    I LOVE the idea of taking the 10 minutes before bed time to be still. That’s something I’m going to incorporate. Thank you!

  5. Yulianna | 8th Aug 17

    Very interesting post! Thank you for sharing it!

  6. Carissa | 8th Aug 17

    Great post! In the last two years, before going to sleep, I take a few moments to be still. Like you mentioned, it is a real challenge, because there are sometimes neg thoughts that try to creep in. It’s something I have to work harder on and will try to incorporate throughout my day instead of just before bed.
    Thank you for sharing

  7. Heather LeGuilloux | 8th Aug 17

    I found myself nodding as I read through this post.. I am also a (busy) therapist who usually puts her social life last (unless you count the time I spend with my cat). I agree that it can feel difficult to find time to be still, and because it’s a practice and something we often need to remind ourselves to do, it can sometimes feel like a chore to slow down. The benefits are so incredible when I do actually sit still, look and observe around me, and make space for my thoughts. Thank you for the reminder to inject more stillness into my own life!

  8. courtney | 8th Aug 17

    Wow, this post made me reflect on a lot. I appreciate this post for many reasons.

  9. Krissy @thoughtfullyunraveled | 8th Aug 17

    I need to work on this. I love the tip about setting your alarm 10 min before bed to focus on being still.

  10. Takeara | 8th Aug 17

    Great post! It’s important that we all take some time to be still. I’m trying to learn to be still and reflect on my day and encourage myself. This does wonders!

  11. Melanie J Sparks | 8th Aug 17

    Love this! It’s great the you acknowledge the pain that can show up with being still. So helpful to work through that feeling and be still anyway.

  12. Sabrina Runge | 8th Aug 17

    Stillness is definitely a challenge for me. Especially when I’m doing something that I’ve really been looking forward to for a long time (going to the top of the Space Needle in Seattle, attending a concert, etc.), I have a bad habit of not truly “enjoying” the moment until it becomes a memory. So, whenever I find myself in these moments, I consciously tell myself to slow down, forget about everything else, and enjoy the moment while it’s actually here. Thanks for writing this!

  13. sxmplycas | 9th Aug 17

    This blog post was really helpful. I’m still trying to take some time out of my hectic life and be still.

  14. Becca | 9th Aug 17

    Yes! Totally agree!!!

  15. Kellie | 9th Aug 17

    This resonates very deeply with me Kelly Anne. I immediately followed you on IG because I think you and I would be great friends!

    I have many of these same thoughts.
    At church we talked about listening this week. The pastor brought up a lovely quote from TS Eliot about quiet (and I think quiet has a lot to do with stillness).

    “Where shall the word be found, where will the word
    Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence

    No time to rejoice for those who walk among the noise and deny the voice.”

    I am answering the call for stillness, thank you for the reminder.

  16. Gabby | 9th Aug 17

    This is an amazing post! I’ve been trying to be more “still” and have been trying to re-center myself. I’m not very active so when I started a simple yoga routine and it hurt my hips and legs I got very discouraged, not to mention emotional. It’s a struggle but I know it’s necessary!

  17. Jane | 9th Aug 17

    Kelly, this is such a great post. I struggle with it every now and then. It is not that easy. I usually try to meditate at least for 10 minutes before bed but that doesn’t mean I always manage to be still. 🙂

  18. Claire | 10th Aug 17

    Such an interesting post, I get very anxious when I’m still as I always feel I should be doing something – it’s certainly a skill you have to learn, especially if you have a very busy and full life.

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