“Some of us need to discover that we will not begin to live more fully until we have the courage to do and see and taste and experience much less than usual... And for a woman who has been drawn completely out of herself by activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act she can perform.”
It is difficult to sit still, rest and do nothing at all. Several years ago, I entered a “mid-life moment.” The kids were getting older and needing me a little less which led me to ask some of life’s big questions about who I am, and what my work is in the world. My spiritual director encouraged me to take 5 minutes each morning to meditate: to be still and rest. She said, “Amy Jo, what you are searching for is within.” So, I begin each day with 5 minutes alone to breathe and just be with my self.
Easier said than done…. ☺
One morning, I took my meditation in a walk through the woods. As I walked, I practiced letting my thoughts come and the hard part, letting them go. I felt more at ease and calmer. I didn’t have the answers to my big life questions, but I felt more grounded.
Next I began to really notice the trees and nature all around me. I was experiencing what was happening in the moment, continuing to let the labels, roles thoughts, and “to do list” go for the next 15 minutes.
As I continued to notice the trees and the streams rather than attaching to all the racing thoughts, it hit me- I am not my thoughts! And what I had been looking for, my true Self was right here within all along, buried beneath.
This pure, full of love, constant and eternal part of me that I did not create and was out of touch with appeared and I realized that no matter what I did or didn’t do, She would always be there.
It was this moment that something changed for me. I can’t really explain but it’s why I continue to meditate now. When I could find stillness and quiet and consciously let go (for a few minutes) of the life that I had constructed I found this deeper, truer Self within…
Ruth Haley Barton says
“We are like a jar of river water all shaken up. What you need is to sit still long enough that the sediment can settle, and the water can become clear.”
It’s true, meditation can help us catch our thoughts, to be present, more focused and to get clear, but it’s not always easy. I have found that even a 90 second pause helps me feel more connected and grounded for what’s ahead!
Meditation is also excellent for physical health:
- Helps manage stress and anxiety
- Enhances the immune system
- Helps you deal with depression
- Reduces pain
- Slows your Heart Rate
In 2021, I hope you can find one moment each day where you are fully conscious. Breathe, go for a walk, scan your body, tune in. Take time to discover who you are beyond the labels and responsibilities, but remember, keep a tender heart. Like Jane Austen says “There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart…”
There are so many wonderful resources to help you in your journey but here are a few of my favorites: