My nickname as a kid was busy Lizzy. I learned at a young age that being busy kept me occupied, away from the places in my psyche where I had to feel things, allow them to land and permeate me. It is hard to hit a moving target and I learned at a young age that being idle isn’t rewarded.
So stillness and quiet are two things that have eluded me...until recently. I know that everyone slows down as they age, but I didn’t really believe that I could, would, or could ever find any enjoyment in it. Now, I cannot imagine my life without the down time, the quiet, the countless hours that I “waste” away being unproductive, vacant and idle.
Turns out that still waters do run deep. I have learned so much about myself as I have forced myself to be still. I have gained access to parts of myself that I hid away a long time ago. I have also been able to access parts of others that I have long ignored or avoided. Stillness invites a certain level of intimacy that busy eschews. Constant chattering defends against the communication of true sentiment, heart, soul and longing. It is hard to allow anything to land when you feel an incessant need to jump, run, move, go.
My biggest fear these days is that something will happen in my life that will remove the still. That my old life that moves at warp speed will return and I will be swept away again and lost to myself. This down time has been so good for my soul. So much beauty and love and kindness and joy surrounds me now that I failed to notice before. How is that I meditated for so long in my garden and never once noticed the birds that visit me? How is it that my children are here in the house, living their lives and I found their voices to be annoying or disruptive? How is it that walking and hiking were the only places that my mind could find some sort of equilibrium?
I guess it really doesn’t matter. I see it, feel it, experience it now and that is enough. And that is the greatest gift of stillness...enough. Enough time, enough money, enough love, enough activity, enough down time, enough. I have finally been granted a feeling of enough after a life of chasing, stalking more. For me, enough was in the details that I missed at top speed.
I have been dreaming lately, deeply and with a great deal of detail. I wake up tired from the level of activity of my subconscious mind. It is almost like the more my body stills, the more active and alert my mind becomes while idle. Writing helps download the contents of my brain but apparently not enough. The dreams are vivid and real. Intensely physical and filled with touch and texture. It is like my dreams are adding in that which is missing from the my life, a contact with another in an intimate way. My life does lack for things - mostly of an intimate nature, but I also see that without my current situation, a true intimacy would never be possible with me. I could not be still enough to let you hold me. To allow you close enough to know me.
So like with most things, I am slowed to a point of still and then, and only then, I am permeated with the thoughts and feelings of change. A tide turning storm that exists below the surface...a great deal of sand and rock and water is swirled about but it is all occurring beneath the surface so it is hard to see, hard to notice...but it exists nonetheless. I feel the pull, I feel the change, I feel the somewhat quiet storm that erodes the hardness of spirit and roots me in place. I am moved, but ever so slightly, sinking deeper into the earth beneath me, finally finding peace and contentment right where I am instead of always running to and fro.
Stillness as a teacher is a journey that almost no one else sees but transports you far and wide. Having the courage to just be right here, right now, forever a journey into the call of my very own soul. And a quiet that allows for you to tell me who you are and what you are made of, without my own compulsive need to fill in all the gaps. I have learned that when one stills the mind and body, the soul will speak.