I have been thinking about stillness a lot lately. What is means to be still. Still in mind, still in body, still in spirit. Still as in not moving, but also as in continuing. Stillness, in the not-moving sense is not my natural state. I talk fast, I move fast, I even drive fast. I’ve written before of my history of frantic restlessness, of my almost tragic inability to slow down and be inside my life. I’m changing these patterns, albeit slowly, oh so creakingly slowly. But I am not a still person by nature. I don’t sit still and my mind doesn’t stay still.
What I know now is that the constant motion and busy-ness is a way of avoiding the pain and the grandeur of right here. But it’s also, genuinely, a response to a life full of demands. It occurred to me, during my quiet August break, that there will always be somewhere else to be. The light on my blackberry will always blink red. The pages of my manuscript will always be there waiting for my eyes and my pen. There will always be laundry to fold, errands to run, childrens’ needs to respond to, the phone ringing, emails piling up in my multiple email boxes. There will not be a moment, ever, when being still, being here, is the default and the easy choice. It will always require an active decision, and the turning away from things that are needed of me.
The challenge is to be still despite that. To be here anyway. To choose stillness.
I thought of Rebecca’s beautiful description of an encounter with a dragonfly. Her long, still moments in the water, when the dragonfly landed on her body and stayed, were nothing short of holy. And it is clear that the dragonfly chose to land on her precisely because she was already being so still. When we are still we are open to receive the sacred, to see the divinity in our lives.
And so as we hurtle headfirst into the busy, fuller-than-full month of September, I am reminded, again, of the need to actively commit to stillness. Reminded that I will always have to choose it over other obligations, many of which are completely valid in their claims on me. And I must still, over and over, be still. Still choose stillness.
Get Lindsey's thoughts on mindful living and parenting in your inbox