Easing Chaos With Stillness


I sat in the break room and listened to the sound of the clock as the seconds passed. The ticking was therapeutic. The rhythmic sound eased the frustration I had been experiencing all week. It was every bit of the solace I needed to continue my day in my right mind.

Over the years I learned a thing or two about the power of silence. About the beauty of stillness. About the peace that lies right beneath settling into one's existence. Not doing anything, not thinking anything.

It's one of the greatest things I learned to do during a people of color meditation event. How to exist in your body as a person of color trying to identify their inner voice without the microaggressions we experience as a result of our colored bodies. Utilizing stillness through the attention it takes to feel your skin, your limbs, your toes without actually touching them. To experience what breathing feels like. To feel the rising and sinking of your chest without looking at it. To allow yourself the time to feel your lashes tap against your bottom lid when you blink. And while I know there must be questions about how anyone can ease chaos with stillness — how is it even possible to find time to be still amidst chaos — the answer is simple: you just do.

Stillness: the absence of movement or sound. It's literally just existing; being present in the body. But in order to do that — to merely exist — you must allow yourself the time to do so. You must be intentional about being gentle to oneself. Of being patient, and kind, and caring to what you're going through. Being understanding of your need to do so; to silence yourself and everything around you and just be. You must give yourself the time, and love, and space to be still.

So, amidst all that you're going through, I urge you to step away. I encourage you to find a quiet space at work, in your home, or at the park, and fix your mind to silence all the distractions around you. Don't think about the distractions (the more you think about them, the more present they'll be), allow them to merely exist. Don't put your mind on anything in particular, rather allow it all to just happen around you. The butterfly that touches your nose, the fly that just buzzed past your ear, allow it all to just be. Feel the air. Experience a deep breath. Feel the wind softly caress your spine. Become one with your being, separate from all that you're dealing with. Recenter yourself to your true essence of existence.

In the moments of chaos? Especially in the moments of chaos.

In the moments you feel there's no time to step away. In the moments where your to-do list is overflowing and your inbox has 100+ unread messages. In the moments your phone is ringing off the hook. In the moments the kids are jumping off the wall. In the moments your boyfriend is being needy. In the moments your boss is hounding you for the report you just found out about. Learn when to flee. Learn when it's time to shut your laptop and take a coffee break. Learn when it's time to do a lap around the parking lot. When it's time to stop answering the phone and stop responding to e-mails. And learn when it's most necessary to use your lunch to sit in silence, instead of run those errands. Your mind, body, and spirit will be grateful...so will your productivity.

The sound of the wall clock calmed my anxiety. It brought my racing thoughts from 1,000 to 10. And, since then I've been practicing the art of stillness. I've been making my acquaintance with being gentle, and patient, and kind, and soft to myself. Because I've learned that there is no emergency greater than the one that threatens my peace.

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