Most of us are familiar with the old adage, “if a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around, do you hear it?” Or perhaps, “…to see the forest for the trees.” Both quotes are reminders to connect with the bigger picture of a situation – to differentiate our perception versus reality. And, to step back and look at situations as a whole, instead of getting lost in the details. If we compare our racing thoughts and busy schedules to said trees and forests, is it any wonder we feel like the sparse and neglected tree from, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
When our days are so hectic, we have little time for what I call monumental thoughts…you know, the ones that make up our deep, dark chocolate layer, that aha! moment, that second of sanity. (Read more about this layer here) Often, we try to fill every moment of our day to feel a sense of purpose or to avoid the feeling of loneliness. But, what if we just stop and do nothing for 30 seconds. Observe our own thoughts. Take stock of our metaphorical roots. See the bigger picture
Stillness is often overlooked. All too often, we feel we must be constantly on the go in order to be productive. Yet, if we are constantly inundating our mind, and surrounding it with things devoid of meaning and purpose, we tend to become the person we did not set out to be. Someday I will take that trip, reconnect with a friend, or simply spend a day with myself or my child without distraction. Perhaps it is time to surrender.
To surrender is not the same as giving up. To surrender is to let go of ideas, possessions, and delusions that are held too tightly. A self-grasping nature gives power to delusions. By accepting what events come to pass, and surrendering to them rather than fight them, we release the delusion. By holding too tightly, we strangle the possession until it transforms into something unrecognizable, and therefore, we become unrecognizable to what we originally set out to be.
Creating stillness can be a challenge, but it does not have to be as formal as meditation. Some people may feel intimidated by meditation. Or, feel it is too formal and they cannot find the time. However, everyone can be still…waiting at the airport, during a commercial break, or commuting on the train. We feel we must fill up every minute with checking email, having a conversation, or making a to-do list. But what would happen if we didn’t do these things?
What if we just sit…breathe, and be still?
Your breath can sometimes tell you more about how your body is functioning than your thoughts. Is your breathing fast and rapid? Do you feel a short, sharp rise in your chest? Or, a slow deep expanse in your belly? You are both the anchor and captain of your breath.
Stillness can bring about a sensation of grounding, taking root and anchoring the mind to the body.
Be the captain.
Experiment with changing the pattern of your breath to change your state-of-mind and in turn the physiology of your body, such as your blood pressure, cortisol level, and digestive system. The breath is always there for us and is an easily accessible tool to reduce stress, anxiety and manage chronic pain. Try a few short quick breaths to increase energy. Or, five slow deep breaths to regain composure. You will find that your dislocated thoughts sink and your creativity and compassion rise…like a sapling, in your forest of new growth.
For more information on breathing techniques, visit the Be Well Take Care Pinterest board, Just Breathe.
I would love to hear how you find time to be still. Share your journey in the comments section below.