I was recently asked to quiet myself--not by another human, but by a small voice within me. I resisted. I was enjoying facilitating online classes and was actively involved in my own learning and growth circles. But the voice was persistent, and I could feel a growing turbulence in my center that was urging me to slow down and to pay attention; something needed tending.
So, I've been taking a break from my activity, and I'm listening closely to those inner nudges, paying attention to the messengers who are guiding me to my next steps. Pushing into life, for me, is taxing; its results dissatisfying. Pushing rarely feels in tune with my soul's music. Listening--allowing myself to be lured by the sweet notes that feel in harmony with my inner wisdom--is vitalizing.
I remember a time years ago when my inner and outer lives felt severely out of sync. Nothing seemed to speak to me; I couldn't find a direction that felt right. I was pushing the river, rather than flowing with the current. My teacher offered, "don't just do something, sit there" -- an encouragement to wait and listen until I was certain of my next steps. This "not doing" is counterintuitive, especially in our culture. We've been domesticated to believe that meaning and purpose come from taking clear and directed action steps, not from stillness. But the necessity of stillness is inherent in nature: there's calm before a storm; there are still lakes and quiet afternoons. The frogs and insects hush, winds whisper, and the sun silents retreats.
Meanwhile, we're all figuring out how to be in our re-opening world. In many places, masks are being removed; we're stepping into social situations anew, and navigating the awkwardness that comes with relating in a not-quite-the-same manner. This requires presence, asking good questions, gaining clarity, and being true to ourselves. This requires listening. And yes, stillness is an action.