Stillness by the river

Reclaiming Our Worthiness of Stillness (Why It Is So Important and “How To”)

Photo by Yuko Tanaka

You’ll probably feel this one and be able to relate, I imagine…

In the last month, in seeking ways to keep the clarity and grounding I cultivated over my New Years break, I’ve noticed the weight of guilt around taking time out.

Giving myself the ‘you’re totally worth it’ to even take 30 minutes out at night to read my book!

It’s also been very clear that when I do, the spaciousness of mind and openness of heart is remarkably shifted. 

Why stillness is so necessary, in this time.

We’re here, swimming in a cultural narrative as thick as honey, that has us peg our worth against our work, it can be easy to get stuck in Doing. It is inevitable that we feel guilt around taking a breath, a break.

Yet, in this time where we need grace and wisdom, arguably more than power and brute force, how can we reclaim that which allows us grace and wisdom – stillness?

If we are to do the work so necessary in this global predicament, we must slow down. Grace, wisdom, connection, compassion, reverence; these all require such space to cultivate. Beyond cultivate, to integrate.

Our systemic haste and rush supports the system itself. The system influences the ways we Be, the ways we Be reinforces our systems. We have to interject at both the Being and systems level, and maybe what we are most empowered to shift Now (and for the sake of our own wellbeing) is the state of our Being.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl

Between us and stillness.

Let’s unpack this a little…

S  P  A  C  I  O  U  S  N  E  S  S

Those spaces between the letters are opportunities. Rare opportunities at that. 

They’re opportunities to catch ourselves in patterns that define and reinforce our current state – personally and collectively. 

Without those spaces we might create ‘new’ things, or might even ‘solve’ new challenges, BUT with old thinking and ways of being. 

I’m not saying we necessarily need ‘new’ ways of thinking, in-fact in many cases maybe we need to remember ‘ancient’ ways of thinking. In doing so, we might be able to restore our culture and our ecology to a state that is more-conducive to regenerative life here on planet Earth. 

To access ‘new’ thinking, and definitely to remember ‘ancient’ thinking – at least in the beginning – it takes a great deal of cognitive effort. The all-too-famous m-word (mindfulness 😑) takes incredible amounts of energy to practice in a sustained way.

That’s enough, I’m sure you understand why spaciousness is crucial in this time (for yourself, as much as us).

What’s the narrative that keeps us shackled to productivity, efficiency and working our damn asses off?

I know for me, the narrative is often that “my worth is tied to my work and vocational success. I will only be seen as worthy if I am making material progress. The world needs change and I’d better be working at it!”

With this narrative running often without my noticing, great amounts of guilt and self-worth *stuff* arises when I even consider taking a break, or having a couple of hours solace. 

👉 What would you say the narrative that ties you to productivity is? 

Firstly, let’s re-balance the narrative around worthiness. Your worthiness is NOT negotiable. No matter your work in the world, your worth as a human is NOT any more or less. That is a different metric, that is called productivity, not worth. 

Secondly, let’s remember the above: the change we must usher into being requires space. If we are to be of service in the most integrated and regenerative way, these course-corrections, re-trainings and perspective-pivots need some stillness. 

May you know that you are worthy of stillness and of space. May you make time for this solace for yourself, for listening and honouring what has been waiting for your attention. 

You are enough, as you are, despite your Doing.

I’m curious, what resonated for you in this piece?

👉 This is one of the cultural entanglements I explore in my forthcoming book, that has woven itself into our personal worldview, keeping us at distance to ourselves, each other and our creative potential.

Let me know what feels resonant for you, or not. Al

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