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Sitting in Stillness
Living in today’s world of hustle and bustle, sitting still is one of the hardest lessons that must be learned. I often remind my students that, even when they believe they are relaxed, they may not be. In fact, most aren’t. It is an exercise as much as any other exercise. We, as a people, have a difficult time just being still. It seems there are always errands to run or phone calls to make or emails to answer… We are so conditioned to this that it really just feels quite normal to us. I am no exception; I constantly am on the go — things to do, people to see.
Last week, our community was tested on our ability to sit still and just be when winter storm Cleon made an extended visit to our area. We were being warned for days to prepare for this storm, and I think most people did, because a few years ago we were hit with this type of forecast and ended up being trapped with no power for days. So we joked about getting the bread and milk and toilet paper in case of the possibility that we would be trapped for a few days. That was Thursday. By Thursday night the freezing rain and sleet started. It was fun — we cooked a stew, drank brandy and watched the “Sound of Music”…so we could be trapped tomorrow, no big deal. Friday morning we woke up to beautiful fluffy snow; we had maybe three inches on the ground and it was still snowing. But we didn’t care; we had our milk and bread and our power was still on, so we were fine. By 3 pm, however, we were starting to panic. The snow was still coming down in almost blizzard-like conditions and there was now about 15 inches on the ground, the largest snowfall this town had seen in a while. We were getting concerned about several things: would our power stay on? Would we be able to get out tomorrow? Nerves started to fray, we were getting edgy, cabin fever was starting to set in…what will we do!!!!? We would look out our window and see very little movement — for the most part, our town was just still.
By Saturday, it was really starting to hit home that we had now experienced two days of being trapped, leading into a third and possibly even a fourth…but we still had power and we still had food (although the liquor cabinet was starting to look a little empty).
Yesterday, on the third day, I was really starting to get anxious. I would have to cancel class again… and I needed to do Christmas shopping… and we were going to have to get out or I would go stir crazy!! But then I caught hold of myself, took a deep breath, and realized that there was in fact nothing I could do. I was no different from anyone else in town; we all needed to work and do our various errands. At least I had power and food (although the liquor cabinet was starting to look even emptier).
So I decided to just go with it. Sometimes the Universe just has this way of saying “be still”! So I stopped fretting over what I couldn’t do and started focusing what I could do, besides eat out of boredom. I could meditate, I could do an extra practice, I could read, I could shoot a video, I could clean my sewing room.
I know that isn’t completely sitting still, but this afforded me the opportunity to slow down and look around at possibilities that were outside of my regular routine.
Now that I’m on my fourth day, I am ready to see the snow leave and spring arrive. I do think I will get out for a trip to the store today for more supplies (and to restock that liquor cabinet). It is a reassuring feeling to know that we CAN get to the store if needed. Many still can’t.
I’ve learned that we have to accept where we are… in a pose, in life, or in a snow storm. We can fight the flow or we can be still and let the flow carry us to a new place of reality. This has been a good reminder to me that, when you are impacted with an event that is out of your control, just be still. The condition will change…it always does.