A lotus roots in muddy waters, and then blooms serene & beautifully;
bringing joy & peace to all who gaze upon her shining petals. But don't forget that not all of the waters to root in are muddy. Perhaps instead of the lotus, you're a rose.
-note to self
I learned something new about myself this week.
For the past several years, I've gotten pretty good at practicing the art of staying calm throughout the chaos of life. I've mastered breathing techniques, and found effective coping mechanisms for supporting my anxiety. I learned how to get grounded when everything around me seems to be a whirlwind. All handy tools to have, indeed. Life is unpredictable. Yoga and mindfulness teaches me to stay in the present moment and to feel calm in chaos.
What I learned about myself this week is that I struggle to feel content in times of stillness.
I read something a while back that talked about how people who live with anxiety or have gone through trauma can often times feel more at ease and content in chaos rather than finding joy or contentment in stillness. I was shocked to find out that was me (sort of). Here I am- settled into a new home, in a new city I absolutely love, with my new Fiance, wedding planning, financially stable, teaching Yoga, getting to do all the things I love to do... and feeling like something is supposed to be missing.
It wasn't until I made this realization that I acknowledged my defenses are consistently up. Hello truth bomb. I am always looking for ways to "calm the chaos" that somewhere along this journey I forgot to learn how to feel content in stillness. Maybe this is because I've never truly felt pure stillness. Always struggling and working two or three jobs to make ends meet, always learning new ways to grow, and waiting in anticipation for the next chaotic thing. People who love me the most tell me all the time that I am too hard on myself, that I should enjoy this time being spent peacefully at home. "Take a pseudo vacation" my sister's said. So, I told my brain that's what we were going to do, and then symptoms of boredom and sadness started to settle in. For the last week or so, there has been an unsettled energy buzzing around, and a sadness I couldn't explain that has been leaving me feeling depleted, for seemingly no reason. What in the world?!
And then it hit me- I've spent a good portion of my life learning how to feel calm in chaos, and have gotten so used to how chaos felt (because I've had to)- that when I was finally given the opportunity to feel content in stillness... my nervous system kind of freaked out.
"There could be moments slipping by where you don’t feel anxious. Orienting how it feels when anxiety is not as loud or isn’t present might be a more generative way to keep yourself going for now. We get very good at noticing the presence of anxiety or discomfort and not so great at noticing when we feel ok to possibly good." -Jane Clapp
Okay, so I'm learning something new.
I'm learning how to feel joy and be content in this time of stillness. I'm learning to slow down, and to e n j o y that. I'm learning how to let my defenses soften enough to let happiness overcome. I'm learning how to let my guard down and to not actively search for the chaos to calm. And while I know this new self discovery won't be something that happens over night, I am starting to feel a sense of relief just by giving myself permission to acknowledge what I've learned and to integrate new things. I'm giving myself permission to breathe... in the stillness.
Implementing Contentment in Life's Stillness:
1. Wake up everyday and choose joy & kindness.
2. Practice gratitude. Make a list of all that I am grateful for-especially this time of stillness.
4. Do something crafty or a hobby, or write!
5. Savor hearty and delicious foods & beverages slowly.
6. Wear clothing that feels like a celebration and self expression.
7. Yoga & Mindfulness- on the daily.
8. Make someone's day brighter by reaching out or giving a gift.
9. Bask in the sunlight & notice the changing of the seasons in nature.
10. Breathe- without any agenda.
11. Allow yourself to be happy in the stillness.