Water, Reflecting

I am struck by the tendency to move faster at this time of year. The busy shopping excursions to the grocery store to secure the right side dishes for the main course, the mad dashes to stores to get final gifting of course- the competition for the parking spots!

We seem to be wildly out of synch with the calling of the natural world. Bring to mind a morning that you woke to a blanket of snow. That is the quietness, the stillness that winter offers us.

So different from the dry heat of the summer, or the energy of spring, winter is a time of stillness- short days and long nights. The hills in my town are cloaked in low lying fog, the animals are quietly moving through the still land. This time of year, nature invites us to a time of quiet and stillness.

Stillness offers so many gifts to us but it can be so easy to overlook. It can help provide clarity. Imagine a rushing river. The sediment and particles from rock are swirling around, moving through the water so that it is difficult to separate the two.

Now, imagine a calm pond or lake that receives the river and brings it to stillness with depth. The heavier sediment can settle down to the bottom and the water can become clear.

So often in adult life, it is difficult to offer ourselves the gift of stillness or quiet. We move quickly through our world- and we often have to! There is laundry, bills, taxes, medical appointments, meals to be made, workouts to be done.

Without this quality of quiet stillness, it is easy to move around, swirling like a rushing river- and it can be challenging to gain insight or clarity. What is your response to stillness or quiet? Is it something you avoid?

Since our focus is on movement, let’s use the example of movement in our clarity practice- but really, you can use this technique to develop insight or clarity around anything you like (eating habits, thinking habits, communication styles are other examples of great places to develop clarity).

The first part of this practice is developed from Buddhist monk and mindfulness meditation teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. Allow yourself 10 minutes of quiet for this practice:

1) Make sure you find a spot that is quiet where you can be undisturbed for the next 10 minutes (you can set a timer if you like so you know when your time is up)