Finding Stillness in the Real World
simple ways to quiet your mind (that don’t look anything like traditional meditation)
Most folks would agree that 2020 left us wanting more peace in our lives--and searching for tools and tricks to deal with the isolation and the anxiety that living in a time of pandemic can bring.
I truly believe that carving out time to quiet our minds in 2021 is more important than any “resolution” you could come up with… even if you happen to be among the *less than 8%* of people who actually stick to their new year’s resolutions!
I’m a Master Life Coach and Energy Intuitive… and I also have ADD (yes, Attention Deficit Disorder), love learning about all the things, and was a full-time homeschooling mama to my two boys. Can you pick up what I’m putting down? My life is full and can often be chaotic! It is exactly that--my noisy, messy and highly creative life--that sent me seeking new ways to find Stillness.
I have practiced MANY types of meditation through the years. Some would be recognizable as “meditation”. I have a meditation pad and cushion in a guest room filled with crystals. I also have a ton of cds and mp3s, and multiple phone apps for guided meditations.
Those types of meditation were my go-to for quieting my mind… until they stopped working for me! (Life circumstances that I hope you never have to deal with made them triggering to me, and basically left me in a sobbing heap… a very different experience from the Stillness and Connection I was seeking.)
When they stopped working, I needed to discover other ways of finding peace. Ways that don’t require a meditation cushion or closing your eyes and going to that (sometimes painful) place within.
I found many other ways! HOORAY! So I figured, why not share what I’ve learned? It really doesn’t matter why you don’t have a long-standing meditation practice in place… I think that at least one of the following paths to Stillness will work for you. I sure hope so! I want to help you find the peace that Stillness can bring. You deserve it. We all do!
Stillness Through Nature
Sitting or walking outside is one of my favorite paths to Stillness. I especially love to sit on the sand and watch the ocean waves. The roar of the surf makes the multitude of thoughts crashing around in my head fade into nothing… and any thoughts that are left feel absolutely insignificant as I experience the power and wonder of the never-ending ebb and flow of the tide.
Don’t live near the ocean? Just get outside! Sit in your yard and watch snow fall or the hummingbirds/butterflies/bees/ants do their thing.
No yard? Go for a walk… notice the wind on your skin. Feel the weight of each step as it touches down on dirt or grass or pavement. Getting outside and noticing the world is a great start in your search for Stillness.
Head still full of thoughts? That’s okay! There’s a reason people talk about a meditation *practice*... this takes practice! When you notice your thoughts are distracting you, take that as a cue to focus back on whatever you’re experiencing in nature. Every time. It’ll get easier with practice, promise.
Stillness Through *Repetition*
When it’s not possible to go outside (or if you just don’t feel like it!) there are ways to quiet your mind indoors. Think of things in your home that have some kind of repetitive movement: it could be visual movement, like the Himalayan salt lamp my son got me for Christmas that cycles through the different colors. It could be auditory movement like the clicking of a clock. It could even be the tactile movement of a lump of clay in your hand! Finding something with movement to observe can bring you to a place of Stillness in your mind.
Get creative! Even washing dishes can be a meditative practice… being *in the moment* takes us out of our thoughts and into our bodies. Feel the warmth of the sudsy water. The rhythm of wiping the dishes with the cloth or sponge. The weight of your favorite mug as you dry it with a towel.
Again, thoughts will probably happen. When they do, bring your attention back to your task at hand.
Stillness Through Doodling?
Yep! I was introduced to Mindful Drawing by Mollycules of buddhadoodles.com (you can also search for Buddha Doodles on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube!) I call it Mindful Doodling because I am *not* an artist, and the idea of drawing terrifies me! But anyone can doodle, right?
It honestly doesn’t matter how talented you are on paper, because the end product is not the point here! Bringing your attention to the feel of the pencil (or pen or crayon… whatever you have in your hand) on the paper is the starting point.
Let's doodle! Create a long, connected line on the page. You can move your pencil in loops or jagged lines or any way you like. Feel the movement of your hand as you continue to fill the page without lifting the pencil. When you feel like you’ve done “enough” or come to a stopping point, look at what’s on the paper.
Notice any shapes you may want to outline in pen or with a thicker line of the pencil. Does the center portion remind you of a tree? You could darken the lines of the tree so it stands out. Play with colors if you’d like--use crayons or colored pencils (or water-soluble wax pastels...then all it takes is a brush and a bit of water and you’ve got watercolors!) Remember to suspend judgement, please. You’re doing this for the experience… for the calm it brings, not to become the next Rembrandt.
Look for Stillness Everywhere!
I was just talking to a coaching client who was a bit disappointed that she hasn’t been able to lock meditation time into her morning routine. She has been really diligent about her exercise, however. I reminded her that (I believe that) meditation is really just being mindful of something. That “something” doesn’t have to be your breath or a mantra to be beneficial. When she exercises, she’s being mindful of her body movements and exertion. That can totally bring the mind to Stillness! So instead of beating herself up, I encouraged her to keep her exercise date with herself, and think of it as being good for both her body AND her mind.
I hope you give yourself the opportunity to try a bunch of different ways to experience Stillness. Besides the ways I've shared here, notice the places you can be mindful in your day-to-day life, and how you can discover moments of peace there. Find what works best and is most enjoyable to you! And if your practice starts feeling stale down the road, remember that there are many (many!) ways to bring Stillness into your life.