Monday, January 07, 2013
On Inviting Stillness
While vacationing with my sister-in-law Laurie in Florida, I had time to talk to her about the changes both she and I have made in our lives recently.
I've been stepping up my fitness level and am loving my new energy and my continually changing body. She has focused on changing her inner self, starting with a 21-day meditation program and eventually incorporating meditation and reflection into her daily life. There is a peace and a happiness about her that didn't used to be there. Or I should say, if it was, it did not exude from her being as it does now.
She invited me to join her in a 15-minute meditation session, following along a podcast from Deepak Chopra. Sure, I said, I'll try anything once.
I am telling you, those were the longest 15 minutes of my day. My fitness programs of 45 to 60 minutes go by in a heartbeat compared to those 15 minutes.
I have no idea how to achieve stillness. I do not know how to go "into my inner mind." I don't know how to actually relax, not physically but mentally. And it was such a deeply moving meditation about inviting abundance into your life that despite my obvious lack of comfort in the experience it brought me to tears anyway.
Part of what brought me to tears was realizing how very little I do this. And by "very little" I mean "never." My blogging is as close as I come to "stillness," and it doesn't come close to meditating.
I recently read a post by a European who wrote with derision about how busy Americans make themselves. "Americans think that packing action into every moment of their waking day means they lead full lives. I watch them scurry from landmark to landmark on their travels, never stopping to actually taste the wine, to enjoy the sights of a beautiful day in my country. Will they feel any more fulfilled at the end of their lives than I at mine?"
Another exercise Laurie had me try was on New Year's Eve, to issue out the old and welcome the new. She told me to write down on a piece of paper the things I wanted to leave behind in the old year, then burn that piece of paper. Then I was to write down the things I want to invite into my life in the New Year and meditate on those things.
I had a few days to think about what I wanted to leave behind. I have to say I'm really happy with my life. I have a good job, love my husband, my kids and extended family, we are fortunate in our financial situation, we are healthy and quite happy. Was there any part of what happened this past year that I would want to leave behind?
It took a run on the beach on my last day there for my mind to clear enough to decide upon three things I wanted to leave in the old year.
And to invite into the New Year:
(I figure if I invite patience and stillness that anger and other negative emotions will take care of themselves.)
These two words -- patience and stillness -- enter my mind as soon as I awake in the morning. I think of them during my drive to work, and I focus on taking deep belly breaths throughout the day. Sure, there is no stillness in my life, but I am learning stillness in my mind.
I'm working on it, and that's more than I did before.