This morning started like so many others. The alarm went off, I refused to listen, rolled over and snuggled my dog for five delicious minutes before guilt got under the covers and shoved me out of bed. And so the morning went- yoga, breakfast, coffee, get around, more coffee and a walk with a friend, running around town, lunch…go, do, move… and then I sat down.
Amanda Lindsey Cook opens her song House On A Hill with these words-
In this house upon a hill
You won't mind it
Some things you can't know till you're still
In the silence
Where your spinning thoughts slow down
In the stillness
Things have a way of working out
Full transparency. My dad sent me this song a while back (cute, I know) and I just listened to it, like actually listened, not had-it-on-in-the-back-ground-while-doing-seventeen-other-things kind of listening. And you guys, it 1000% wrecked me. Like, tears falling down my face, mascara burning my eyes, sent to everyone I know because it is that moving, ‘SHOOK’ as the kids would say, #wrecked.
Why? Who really knows… but I have a suspicion.
When I sat down earlier, wedged between the couch and the coffee table, it was with the intention to be still. To listen. To quiet my mind and body so that my soul could better hear what God, the Divine, Creator, was whispering. I felt myself ‘settle in’ read- I was in my body, present, aware of being and breath, truly for the first time in…days? Maybe? Rather non-ironically I then read these words, “In the busyness of everyday life we can become blind and deaf to the river of life that flows in a and around us all”… I mean… come on.
The line I bolded in the lyrics above is one of those truths we all know, but often choose to ignore. “Some things you can't know till you're still” The thing is, stillness allows us to take the blinders off and pull out our airpods… I mean earplugs (see what I did there?) so that we can see our lives with clarity and hear what our souls are saying… Stillness helps us mend the split between our heads and our hearts*.
That is the thing for me. The thing I feel when I don’t take time for prayer and meditation- time to be still. I feel a split begin to form inside of me. It starts small and unassuming, but before I know it my head and my heart are on opposite sides of the souls grand canyon shouting at one another but neither can really make out what the other is saying. This, of course, leads to frustration and confusion, short temperedness, dissatisfaction and distorted desires. It is a sense of agitation which, inevitably, leads to anxiety.
There is a reason stillness has been a thing since the dawn of time. Like, if you want to get biblical about it, God rested. GOD was still. Maybe thats why it says in Psalms 46:10 (that is a bible verse btw, not like a latitudinal location), “Be STILL and know that I am God.” I don’t know what you believe in. Quite frankly, I’m not over here trying to ‘convert you’ to anything with this post (ok…maybe I am a little bit), but I would encourage you to be open… take what is meant for you and leave the rest. I would encourage you to take time to sit, breath, and be still.
As I typed that I was reminded of something that happened in Yoga the other week, and I will close with this thought.
The instructor began class, as so many do, by having us set an intention… mine was, uncharacteristically “to be still” the words welled up inside of me, more knowing than thought. And so we flowed and I held the postures in stillness and breath, not rushing, not pushing, but settling in, finding stillness. At the end of class, during the closing meditation, I saw in my minds eye a raging ocean inside of my chest. I took a deep breath, exhaled, and heard God whisper to quiet the waters. “Remember” he said. “Remember my power and presence, remember to be still and know…”
I forget all the time.
*The idea of a split between our heads and our hearts really struck me and I am sure I will write more about it later… In ‘The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook’ Adele Ahlberg Calhoun talks about how that split begins to heal when one seeks Spiritual Direction or counseling.