Monday, August 1, 2011

Common Miracles, #12: Being still

“Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts. Each time we drop our complaints and allow everyday good fortune to inspire us, we enter the warrior’s world.” –Pema Chodron

I find it takes a bit of energy to be still. Not unlike the discipline for meditation and/or prayer, being still, for me, requires working against my natural state. My natural buzzy-busy state. But I want to be still, sometimes. I at least want to have the option to be still, and not twitch.

So I took my little buzzy and busy (and oddly, for vacation, a little out of sorts) self out to the sunniest seashore this afternoon and just sat. And watched the boys play a multitude of made-up games of long jump and frisbee soccer and some sort of tackling each other... I lasted about 15 minutes before I started texting and checking my calendar. Good grief.

But I've been thinking a lot about it, ever since I said to husband on Saturday night, "I'm going to work real hard at relaxing," and promptly started laughing at the preposterousness of that comment. Yes, Sher, do that, would you? Work real hard at relaxing? Crazy.

But busyness cures a lot of mind stuff. Well, doesn't cure it, but certainly puts off thinking about it. When I'm still I think about "things" a lot more... things that most days I don't want to think about. Unsolveable things. Things that make me angry or at the very least annoyed, or even just unsettled.

Dear Pema, she of the above quote that begins every Common Miracles post, also talks about the scab that humans pick at, all the time. The scab of our pain. (Sorry if that grosses you out, but that's the word she uses, and I think it's apt.) The pain that everybody has, generally the result of living life. And rather than just sit with our pain, and allow our scabs to heal, our tendency is to return to the scab over and over and pick at it so that it doesn't heal. Her advice is just to sit. To let the pain be what it is, unsolveable as it may be, and that in the sitting, the healing takes place. Slowly, but eventually, we heal.

I pondered that today in my brief stillness... and felt so glad to remember her words, and feel their applicability to my life. I know this stuff. Healing does happen; I've felt that in my life. Sitting does help; I've also felt the benefit of peaceful stillness. I just need to return to that thinking, over and over again.

I sat on the softest sand and burrowed my feet, watched the young man I love so much with his dear friend, carefree and laughing, the sun as bright and beautiful as I've ever enjoyed it at the ocean. The sky had a million shades of blue going on, and the palette of colors, between the sand and the sea and the grass and forest beyond, is so completely MY palette.

Being still was pretty wonderful. I might just do it again tomorrow.

For a look at the Common Miracle project's beginnings, go here.


  1. What a beautiful miracle of stillness...

  2. I can so understand this. My thing is that sometimes obsessing (yes, I will admit it- I obsess!) about things can be *fun*. Especially art projects and vacation plans and my garden and what to have for dinner. To me, it shows I am invested. Too much obsessing is never good, and when it's, like, anxiety about a dentist appointment I have in 17 days it's no good. But sometimes I like to think about things.

    My main challenge with stillness is that when I sit to meditate (usually right after I pray), if I "empty" my mind and just focus on breathing or opening my heart, the WEIRDEST stuff starts to pop up. The other day it was some memories about the guy who lived across the street while I was growing up and the cigarettes he smoked. Then it's some out-of-the-blue thought about graduate school, from twelve years ago. Etc.

    To be honest, I'd rather have thoughts in my head that are fun or worth thinking and feeling about (the garden, what to make for dinner, art!) So I am trying to get past this little blip in the road.

    I really love this post.

  3. I do love the photos that you post of Cannon Beach. Just wish we could be with you to enjoy some of it also. Just keep posting photos of the beach for me, ok?

    And keep working hard to relax. I know it isn't easy... but if you really work hard to do it you just might find the rythum of it.


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