Monday, October 3, 2011

Stillness {Day 2}: A History of Still

"Hurry is not of the devil; it is the devil." (Carl Jung 1875-1961)

It occurred to me that maybe explaining why I wanted to meditate on Stillness for these 31 Days might be helpful.  Some of you lifers may remember when I originally posted this two years ago, but for those of you new to NilsenLife, here's the original seed of Stillness:

I'm just going to say this: I behave terribly when it is time to get little people out the door. Partly because I'm always running just slightly late, always underestimating the time it takes to find one pink Croc, the 2 Very Special Playmobil Guys who are to travel with us, and the big sister who is Officially A Bit Dreamy. Partly because no one seems to grasp just how important it IS to get somewhere on time. Partly because no matter how many times it fails, I keep believing that yelling/sighing/stomping (I know, mature, right?) will actually change the outcome.

In fact, I think this ineffective yelling/sighing/stomping sort of behavior has been a bit of a hallmark of the last year or so. A development that doesn't necessarily fill me with pride.

So this was my Mother's Day present this year:

It is a Lisa Leonard necklace, titled "Be Still." I have worn it almost daily since that day in May - it is beautiful, and a sweet little accessory, but it has become a talisman to me. A meditation, if you will, to remind me in its weight against my collarbone that what is required of this moment is to simply Be Still.

It is so hard for any of us to be still.

Those of us with kids are fully occupied by the next activity, the next fight, the next birthday party. Those of us who work are stressing the next deadline, the next phone call, the next meeting. All of us have homes with dishes, with laundry, with bills to be paid, with projects large and small. We all sit with our computers, clicking from tab to tab, instant messaging-emailing-shopping-Facebooking-blogging. Maybe the TV is on for good measure, just in case all the websites go silent at once.

Psychic busy-ness is a specialty of mine: with worry, with guilt, with blame, with doubt. Yet none of those pursuits will bring me to stillness.

Most just avoid stillness through its antithesis: hurry. We are hurrying to the next thing, hurrying to finish, in a hurry to cook, in a hurry to eat, in a hurry to live.

Really, many have addressed this topic far more eloquently, more deeply than I can. For starters, try this post over at Zen Habits:

We are always on, always connected, always thinking, always talking. There is no time for stillness — and sitting in front of a frenetic computer all day, and then in front of the hyperactive television, doesn’t count as stillness.
This comes at a cost: we lose that time for contemplation, for observing and listening. We lose peace.

I am trying to find Still.

I started this post long ago, right after I got the necklace and I wanted to tell you about my new meditation tool. I'd been doing a lot of thinking about how to preserve stillness in my life, in my kids' lives. I'd been regretting my need to hurry, wondering how I could carve out stillness for my home. And then....I got busy. And hurried. And then I got an email, just ahead of a particularly busy weekend. And this is the photo that greeted me when I clicked 'open':

In every faith, in every tradition, there exists in some form this exhortation - this command: Be Still. It is a command designed to give us nothing less than our lives.

Stop. Cease. Slow Down.



Melanie said...

Beautiful! Wow, we have much in common! :) I feel awful when I'm crabby rushing my kids out the door... and LOVE the necklace! Visiting her site now to put a bug in my hubby's ear for my birthday! :)

I blog at 'Only A Breath', and I'd love for you to stop by when you have time. I'm writing about "31 Days to Love Your Neighbor". :)
Have a great day!
Melanie :)

Annie said...

It amazes me that I am not the only one that acts in certain ways when I am trying to usher the family out the door. I'm thankful I am not alone. I am thankful that you shared this!

I haven't chosen stillness as of late, so I am late in responding to this post. I can't wait to read the rest of your blog!

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