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When I was a little girl, I used to play in the woods a lot, alone. I lived on a dead-end street, and the woods circled the back of all of our houses in the neighborhood, like a horseshoe.
I would run around all day, my tiny bare feet crunching on the leaves and my hair catching the burrs from the trees.
There was a myth, that a beast lived in these woods. This story was, no doubt, started by one of my idiot brothers. Every kid in the neighborhood had their own version of this imaginary creature that lurked in the bushes and amongst the trees. I imagined he looked like the monster in
the Bugs Bunny cartoon, the tall reddish-orange one who wears white sneakers and gets a manicure, so I wasn’t scared of him at all.
One exceptionally steamy Summer day, I was running through the woods, eating crab apples, picking wild flowers and dodging poison ivy like stray bullets, when all of a sudden, my face seemed to catch fire!
OH MY GOD, I thought to myself, the beast bit me! Without hesitation, I started to flee into the woods, turning around abruptly, like Forest Gump when he ran cross country, and I started my trek home.
I could feel my face burning and my right eye gradually swell with beastly poison. I ran into the house, the screen door shuddering behind me, and I screamed, MOMMM, the beast bit my face off!!!
She looked at me, and calmly said, “be still”. This may sound profound, but to be honest, sometimes this was a nice way of telling my brothers and I to shut up and she didn’t always say these words in a whisper! But, something was different in her tone and composure.
All of my anguish fell to the floor with those two simple words, be still. As I was telling her the story of my brutal attack in the woods, she was dialing a taxi. She didn’t drive so this was our fastest way to the doctor.
A cab in the 1970’s was full of cigarette smoke, sourness, and hot lifeless air. I sat in the back seat, my mother next to me, our arms interlocked, sweat dripping from my forehead, and down my back, making me stick to the old cracked vinyl seat.
There I sat, still. My eye closing, more and more, with each passing street light. When we finally arrived at the doctor’s office, he took one look at me and said, “great, I can still see the stinger”. He remarked how strong I was, because I wasn’t crying, and I looked at him through my one good eye, and said, “I’m in my stillness”.I learned two things that day, I’m allergic to bees and the power of stillness.
We ALL need to make the time to do this-to find our own stillness.
This doesn’t mean this has to be done in a formal setting, we don’t have to be in front of an altar, sitting in lotus, and chanting OM.
Stillness, or mini-meditations, are extremely important for us to practice in our daily lives; it’s wellbeing for our mind, body and spirit.
You can find your own stillness, at your desk at work, in line at Target, or waiting for your child to get out of school. Focus on a dristi (focal point) and simply breathe or close your eyes, and bring the gaze to the third eye, even if it’s for five seconds or five minutes.
We need to learn to practice this wherever we may be,whenever we feel we need it!We are conditioned to associate stillness with inactivity and inactivity with laziness, but this is simply not true! Doing nothing or going for walk are equally as beneficial. Write in a journal, read a book or as all of my yoga teachers have told me, do the yoga, it works!
Unlock your own stillness and revel in its power.
Discover what works for you, let that regenerate and resonate from within, and in the process, Learn to give yourself a fucking break!