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Settling Into Stillness

Jennifer Mulholland
July 6, 2022
I awake to a still mirrored lake. The water reflects the clouds above and the scene remains the same if you look up or down. Motionless, quiet, beauty. I hear sounds of birds singing in the forest with the faint white noise of trucks in the distance. A loon flies over the water in the distance while a red chipmunk frolics on the steps in front of me. A kingfisher bird makes a dive for its morning catch. The sun begins to warm the air and soften the light, creating contrasts in the scene around. It is the most exquisite morning and I feel so grateful to be here. I am home.
Today is day three of my vacation and it seems to take this long to settle and still. The journey from Park City, Utah to Rangeley, Maine is a long one; five-hour flight and a five-hour drive, not including the time to figure out transportation and the stop at Trader Joe's to get supplies. This trek to our 6th generation, 110-year-old cabin on the lake in the woods is so worth it and I make it every year.
Surrounded by beauty, bounty, and stillness I find peace, connection, and healing - no matter what I've been through the past year. The lake heals. The forest grounds. The birdsong awakens. The pine smell refreshes. The simplicity helps me be and reduces the need to do.
It is easier to find stillness here in the woods on the lake. The change of scenery, location, and atmosphere certainly helps. I guess that is one of the superpowers of vacation - changing it up to rest, reflect, and reset. I feel so fortunate to have this slice of heaven to visit that always soothes my soul and re-connects me to the deepest part of my becoming.
I wonder why it is so hard to create such a space in my day-to-day life at home. I know I can but I don't take the time as much as I know I need to. Micro-moments of stillness are always on offer if I choose to create them and boy are they needed!
If I were to be my own coach, I'd invite myself to create more alone time and space for stillness, wherever I am. I'd share these suggestions to experiment with:
  • Create a set time in the day to stop doing.
  • Create a sanctuary or space to simply be.
  • Give myself permission to change up the scene, following what might feel good that day. Maybe I could sit staring at my Buddha, maybe I could take a walk in the woods, maybe I could lie down on the grass, or sit under a tree.
  • Practice tuning in. Notice what I notice. Notice the surroundings, the sounds, the temperature, and the feeling of being alive in this moment.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Watch the thoughts come and go like passing clouds - detaching from anything that might float in or out.
  • Get up when I am ready. Listening for the nudge of completion.
Sure, it is so much easier to decompress and rest when we are in a different place of beauty. But, as I reflect, I know that beauty is everywhere and we can tune in or tune out whenever we want. It is a conscious choice and one I will practice here so I can take this slice of heaven and peace home with me again.
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