When I was a small child, I struggled to fall asleep at night. As an active dreamer, I vividly remember struggling to sleep in the oppressing heat of Florida. While I am positive that my sleeplessness was a challenge to my parents, it left me with wonderfully soothing memories of hearing my father’s voice say, “be still.” These two little words are so incredibly powerful, and so painfully absent from our repertoire as hard working adults. To this day, as a current hard working adult, runner of rat races, teacher, learner, creative, and business owner, I find myself searching for those words in my every day life. I know now that I need stillness like I need water. In hoping that someone will give me permission to, “be still,” I fear the unkind words of those who don’t seek or need stillness.
Putting fear aside in the name of true love (because I love my jobs, myself, and my life!!), I have uncovered a very easy solution to this challenge of hunting stillness.
Are you ready for it?
Instead of hunting for stillness, plan for stillness.
That statement isn’t a joke. I’m 150% serious. If you plan for stillness for just a tiny portion of your day, you get that stillness returned 100-fold in the form of clarity, energy, compassion, motivation, and creativity (among many others)!
See, part of the challenge of stillness is the anticipation. Thinking of all of the roadblocks we could construct to keep us from re-fueling our insides makes just thinking about it a monumental experience. Normally, I would make a list of things that challenge me about stillness, but it’s just anxiety provoking! Instead of thinking about it, I just need. to. do. it. Maybe you do, too? Do you find yourself searching for stillness?
The self care movement is VERY active right now in the MT world. We have a handful of fantastic MTs leading the self-care train, and it is so incredible. I can’t imagine a time without these leaders in our field making such huge differences! But…. I frequently find myself trying new self care methods and moving on through my day having found some sense of stillness, but not quite the true nugget of “still” that I yearn for.
So after weeks of searching, practicing, journaling, and stewing, the answer to this conundrum popped into my brain during a Skype brainstorming session. Here’s the deal. It would be very easy for us to over “self-care” in the unconscious effort of avoiding stillness. In my mind’s eye, this looks like my 2.5yr old nephew trying to fill a plastic cup with sand, grabbing too much at one time, and then spilling most of the sand back onto the beach instead of into the cup. Meaning, we’re so eager to care for ourselves that we miss the opportunity to bond with the experience entirely.
Maybe this is new, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s a reminder that being still is the way to dig up some of the things you’re looking for. I can’t say what being still will do for you exactly, because we’re such different, amazing, and unique creatives. But I can say that by being still for just a moment, you will re-discover a little of the creative greatness that lives inside of you. And yet again, that. is. AMAZING.
So! This is me, passing you the creative shovel and signed permission slip. Start digging in to your stillness. You never know what awe-inspiring things you’ll find.
Yours in creativity,
Steward, The Music Therapy Marketplace