Such a simple directive, right? Be still. Be still. Be still.
So why is it so crazy hard to do?
Between grocery lists and household tasks and emails to answer and goals to reach, the chatter in my brain is constant and unceasing. It keeps me in never-ending motion as I rush from one thing to the next, updating Facebook in the checkout line, scribbling writing ideas in my journal while I wait for images to upload, saving my phone conversations for multi-tasking car rides.
I am a better me when I cultivate stillness. I am more patient, more forgiving, more productive, more focused. I am a better listener, a better wife, a better friend. I am happier and more grateful.
I am more PRESENT.
When I imagine being still, I immediately think of meditation. Of sitting in unmoving silence and focusing on the rhythm of my breath. Which is amazing and which I am unswervingly convinced has enormous merit as I have worked to establish a meditation practice that works for me over the past several months.
But what if stillness doesn’t always look still?
I am never EVER more still than when I look upon a river. From a raft or a kayak or the river bank, the sight and roar of thousands of gallons of water tumbling over rock and riverbed quiets me. My frenetic mind stills to crystal clear focus as the irresistible current sweeps aside worry and stress and the ever-beeping demands of emails and texts and social media. It washes me clean of the “shoulds” and “supposed tos” and “not good enoughs” and “but what ifs.”
It wakes me up and opens my eyes and fills my heart beyond the reach of distraction. It tunes me in to the primeval pulse of life and death and existence and refuses to let me shy away, to retreat into the mundane.
The call of the mountains, the rustle of the trees, the roar of the river, the thunder on the hills. It’s a different stillness than I find on my meditation cushion, but a stillness nonetheless.