Have you ever had a period where you felt that everything was moving yet standing still at the same time? Where things flowed, yet ebbed? Where you wanted to run, but were forced to walk?
This is my most frequent life lesson, stillness awakening awareness often via injury.
I haven’t been motivated to write for months. I write most often when I am suffering, sad, confused, depressed, anxious…things that often-involved big change, transition or pain bring forth great writing for me. Often these experiences have been great life lessons.
Sometimes stillness is the lesson.
The lack of vision for the future, the just being.
What the heck does that mean? For me, it means that things are still moving, yet slowly, but I'm not stressed or worried. That in some areas I am being stopped from doing something yet I remain calm and focused. This forces me to wake up to my stillness. To SIT in my stillness. To wake up to feeling ok with not moving. To accept stillness. Listening to what emerges from the stillness and growing in these periods.
I am a long-distance runner, a new ultra-runner – so running is what I love do. I am always in motion. I often run for 5 or 6 hours in the forest, often alone. When I am running on the trails I can think of nothing else as my focus is the rocks, roots and uneven terrain at my feet. I can only really think about my next step. This is cathartic for me. My mind, any other time, is 500 steps ahead of where I am; trail running forces me to be in the moment. It forces me to be where my feet are landing. It forces me to be patient – if you are 3 hours out in one direction you can't get to the start without turning around and completing the other 3 hours back. You realize that rushing leads to falling and potentially being injured and alone in the woods. On the flip side, running is my escape. I can't think about the things that need facing or changing as I can only think about the next step on that path. The universe often forces me out to the sidelines by way of injury - this is one of those times.
I have learned 3 things in this time of stillness;
1. No matter how fast you think you are moving you cannot escape yourself
2. The universe will force you to sit still if you can't find that within your own grasp
3. Sometimes sitting still brings forth great opportunities for advancement in life and personal growth
I have been injured for almost 7 weeks and at the same time my best friend moved to Ecuador – two of the things I spend most of my time on (other than my dog and work) disappeared almost simultaneously. For the first time in my years I wasn’t devastated by such change. It just WAS. It was tough for about 2 weeks but I quickly embraced that I needed to sit still, that the universe had something in store for me. There was something I needed to hear or learn in this quiet time.
Since I have been injured I had an exec recommend me to his team in a new role without chasing it. I have spent quality time with my father. I am resting and focusing on connecting internally with who I really am, what I really want and where my future may go. I have read books, spent more time with my son, walked my dog and even made new friends…all in less than 7 weeks.
The reality is; we have plans but plans get broken, life isn’t always going to deliver on our self-imposed plans. We must prepare for change at all times. I made running my life many times in the past, I also made my career my life many times as I searched to validate who I am.
As I grow and become aware I can see that my career, my running, my anything is not WHO I am, they don’t define me, albeit, I allowed them to define me. The internal chatter of; I am a RUNNER, or I am a CAREER women are a thing of the past. I am not just one thing, I am many things.
I am a mom, a friend, a daughter, a dog lover, a goof ball, an intellect, a flighty silly human and I am none of these things. I just am.
All things and no things define me.
No one cares how far you run, how high you climb the corporate ladder, or what you own. People only care about how they feel when they are with you, the memories of love, laughter and comfort that you create.
I am not perfect, far from it. I have loved, hurt, lost; both myself and others. All we can do is take accountability for our actions, forgive ourselves and move on with a smile.
The next time you are forced to sit, to rest, to be still...listen to what lies within. I promise there is much you may be missing!
For me, these periods of stillness and the awareness that it brings, have been the biggest lessons of all.