I’m constantly in motion. Most weeks I’m on a plane headed somewhere. I love it: I’m truly grateful for the opportunities it opens for me.
I recently found myself lying in a hotel room bed on a Saturday morning at a hotel in – of all places – Birmingham, Alabama. My luggage hadn’t made it as far as I had; it was back at DIA. Without a change of clothes or vehicle, there were limited activities available to me, and my host was stuck in a day–long meeting, apologizing for not entertaining me. I reassured her that I was fine.
It was the truth. There were many things I had hoped to see and do that weekend, but what I ended up doing was getting some writing done, and lying in bed reading magazines. It was glorious – just what I needed – and I didn’t feel cheated in any way. I was joyfully still.
I strive for stillness; I’m generally more of a hummingbird than an owl. When we allow ourselves time to be still, incredible things happen. Our bodies get time to repair. Our minds get a break from thinking. Our minds release stress and tension. Our souls find peace and harmony. Our inner voices get a chance to rise to the surface, speaking our truths we can only hear when we take the time to be quiet and listen.
Even when we go on vacations, expecting a time for rejuvenation, we tend to be active, planning our trips around things to do. But in my case, it’s only when I spend time doing a lot of nothing, alone, that I really feel the most rejuvenated.
Alone time is important. When we’re with someone else, we tend to feel pressure to come up with things to do. What if all we need is to lie in a hammock, staring into space, quietly breathing, while the breeze blows across your face? If there are two of you in the hammock there is bound to be talking, or kissing, or something else. While time together is great for a relationship, it becomes “us time,” not your time.
When you find yourself agitated, irritated or unpleasant, ask yourself how long it’s been since you were still. The easiest way to solve this is through meditation, regardless of how short the time is. It’s often then that we find answers we’ve been seeking – like laying in a hammock, but for your mind and soul.
I can hear you already: I can’t meditate. My mind won’t shut off. This is not true. You quiet your mind all of the time. That’s what alcoholic self-medication is; when you start drinking, you stop thinking. If you think about the choices that people make when they’re drunk, you’ll realize how true that statement is. My thing is, you probably don’t want to start drinking at 8 or 9 a.m., so meditation can be helpful.
Here’s my helpful hint about learning stillness: coloring. Spend 15 minutes a day coloring in a coloring book; after a week you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Get those 64 crayons and a space alone, on your stomach on the floor or wherever you choose. It works, I promise!
If you need it, I give you permission to color for 15 minutes daily. Now go be still.