Finding Stillness in the Real World

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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 (and 2021…and 2022) 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 brought to the surface.

But what about now? My life is not “back to normal” nor do I expect it ever to be what it was pre-pandemic. What about you?

I’m a Master Life Coach and Energy Intuitive… and I also have ADHD, love learning about all the things, and was a homeschooling mama to my two boys for all their school years. You see what I’m getting at? My life can 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 cushion in front of an altar space filled with crystals. I also have a ton of cds, 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 find other ways of cultivating peace. Ways that don’t require a meditation cushion (they are called zafu, if you’re wondering) or closing your eyes and going to that (sometimes too painful) place within. 

I found many! ?  So I figured, why not share what I’ve learned?

It really doesn’t matter why you don’t have a long-standing traditional meditation practice in place… I think that at least one of the following paths to Stillness will work for you. Give one a try. Or try all of them!

Stillness Through Nature

Sitting or walking outside is one of my favorite paths to Stillness. I love to sit at the river near our home and watch the water go by. The sound of the rushing river 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 currents.

Don’t live near a body of water? Just get outside! Sit in your yard and watch the leaves waving at you from the trees 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.

(A note: I get some of my best thought processing done in the same ways I experience Stillness, so I have no judgement about letting the thoughts flow freely…it’s just a matter of what you’re looking for in the moment.)

Stillness Through *Repetition*

When it’s not possible to go outside (or 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 one year that cycles through 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 your 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 rinse it off and dry it with a towel.

Again, thoughts will probably happen. When they do, bring your attention back to the task at hand. 

Stillness Through Doodling?

Yep! I was introduced to Mindful Drawing by Mollycules of Buddha Doodles (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. 

Create a long, connected line on the page. You can move your pencil in loops or jagged lines or any way you like, crossing the lines wherever they cross. 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? Darken the lines of the tree so it stands out. Maybe you see a monster or a smiley face in your lines. 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. 

Try Different Things and See What Brings You Peace

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 ritual. 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 both good for her body AND good for her mind and spirit. What things might you already be doing in your day that bring peace to your mind?

I hope you give yourself the opportunity to try a bunch of different ways to experience Stillness. 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, and you can try something new at any point in time.