~Thich Nhat Hanh, from The Energy of Prayer
In my last post, Courageous Stillness, I shared how over the past few months I have been making a conscious effort to slow down and find stillness while focusing on some personal health issues.
From my experience, the concept of stillness has proven to have several layers. Many insights and opportunities for a deeper connection with my whole being have emerged as a result. I recognize that we all may have our own ideas of what that looks and feels like, yet without a doubt the common thread is that it brings us to the present, the here and now.
Initially, it was my body that was calling for attention but the true healing is happening throughout all aspects of my life. I keep coming back to stillness because it is in this quiet space that I have discovered what it means to listen and receive guidance in order to make the best choices for my health. Choices that are aligned with my whole being. What I know about myself is that the rampant thoughts and worries about the past, anxiety about the future, being caught up in the "to-do" lists, and over-committing myself all pull me out of the present and drain my energy.
Sometimes an illness or traumatic life event creates enough of a shock to our whole system that the monkey mind is forced to a halt and we return our attention to what's right in front of us. I have endured these shocks at various times in my life and am grateful for the wisdom that has come out of those experiences. Through the pain and challenges that have surrounded these trials, there have been opportunities to learn something about myself, see the habitual patterns and behaviors that are not serving myself or others optimally. Not all lessons and growth comes from shocks though, I have also found that the Universe provides more subtle hints and cues to return to the present, and if I'm tuned in I am more likely to see them. This brings me back to the power of integrating stillness. One of the most significant lessons I have received is that stillness is not necessarily an abrupt stop, rather it's about finding and connecting with that quiet and still place within throughout the day. As simple as a conscious breath, feeling the sensation of my feet touching the ground, to a walk in nature or preparing a meal mindfully and with love. These are just a few ways to connect with the stillness within.
This is an ongoing practice for me which requires awareness and effort. As with any consistent practice, the more we do it, the more natural it becomes and it often expands into all areas of our life. Over the past year I have been blessed with a wise teacher, Molly Knight Forde of the Awareness School, whose guidance has helped me develop a deeper awareness of presence. Through practical tools and a daily meditation practice, I have gained more clarity and insight to some of the ways my thoughts and automatic behaviors interfere with my highest purpose and optimal health of body, mind and spirit. This inner work has not only been valuable for my own well-being, but it has had a positive impact on my relationships and my professional life. If you're interested in learning more, she is offering a free webinar this Friday at 12pm PST, and I highly recommend it.
As always, I am honored to hold space for those seeking a deeper connection with their whole self and optimal wellness through Holistic Health Coaching, Reiki and Massage Therapy. All essential modalities to nourish body, mind, heart and spirit and create space for stillness.