We can only be authentically present with ourselves when we feel safe, loved and protected. And we can’t give that presence to others unless we find it within. The investigation of self is not only ever-changing and always within reach, but also assuredly a trail of wild and windy twists and topples and flops of fun.
As I was in a group setting seeking stillness and meditation this week, I found myself losing focus and wondering why. The setting? No. My energy level? No. Intention? No.
Instead, it was concern that I wasn’t in a safe place. Nor were my peers, also there to seek peace, held in a safe, sacred space. As I thoughtfully engaged my breathing and pushed out the “monkey mind,” I realized I would never reach a place of true stillness of self unless I could find a sacred place of safety and love. And ONLY by choosing completely to let the outside go.
You’ve likely heard the term “just be” or “to be present.” But how does one arrive at a place of presence while the world spins so chaotically around us? Can we find stillness and safety in the chaos?
An Erich Schiffmann book, “Moving Into Stillness,” teaches the connection of life to a spinning top. “Stillness is like a perfectly centered top, spinning so fast it appears motionless. It appears this way not because it is moving, but because it is spinning at full speed. Stillness is dynamic. Unconflicted movement, life in harmony with itself, skill in action. Our lives however are more like a top that is NOT perfectly centered, instead wild, erratic and chaotic. We know we are alive. Stillness happens when we relax inside and are in harmony with ourselves.”*
But to find this stillness, I now see I must feel safe, loved, protected. When your teenage children are first driving, “being present” is difficult as protective mama bear mode is on. When a movie or book is disturbing to our senses, our balance of self is off kilter, and we may not sleep well. If an ambulance or loud noise catches us off guard, our heart may race as we quickly worry for a loved one. Essentially, fight or flight responses send us toppling over.
So it is in the moments that precede and follow where we “practice” the opposite of chaos, and get back up. We again search for the stillness of the perfectly centered top and find our personal harmony. It is in those moments where we learn to be present and accept ourselves for whatever we are that day. Meaning, it is enough to simply show up and “just be.”
You are enough.