The Art of Stillness
Written By: Meghan Presnell, FNP-C
There has been a recent change in the air, hasn’t there? The gentle, warm, lazy breeze of summer has somehow begun the transition into the crisp, brisk, winds of fall. It is part of that beautiful, predictable, cycle that provides the rhythm of our lives. In this season of change, we often find ourselves running around with a long list of “to-dos”- diving into new projects at work, getting the kids back to school, beginning to think about- dare I say it- the holidays? It can be incredibly difficult to find time to simply be still and turn off the noise so you can actually hear yourself.
I have an embarrassing confession to make. Despite my constant preaching about work-life balance (if you know me, you will often hear me say this), I have a hard time taking my own advice. I recently had the opportunity to take a pause from life for 10 days to go on a vacation to Croatia. I had talked about it in the office for weeks leading up to my trip- I was thrilled to be taking a break from life to relax next to the Adriatic Sea. Days before I left, I began to organize my life and pack my belongings. Part of the organizing included configuring my husband’s computer to give me access to my web-based medical charts, ECW. This allows me to review labs, answer messages, and basically touch base with the office and patients. All of my colleagues told me they would take care of anything that came my way while I was gone, and to just relax and enjoy my vacation without working. I, being stubborn, did not listen.
The first time I tried to log on was in the airport. I hadn’t even left RDU. Oh- and I had already worked in the office for over half the day before leaving for the airport. Why was this the first thing I thought about while waiting to board the plane and not my impending vacation bliss?
The second time I tried to log on was when I arrived in Croatia. Still unable to do so, I texted my colleagues to let them know I was having difficulty, and apologized for anything they may have to take care of on my behalf. Their responses? “Enjoy Croatia!!!” “Don’t worry about a thing!” and my favorite, “I have no idea why you are checking ECW.”
I tried to log on again the next day, again with no luck. I hastily wrote an email for help with remote access, hoping someone would be able to fix my problem. I received a response a few hours later- there was no apparent problem with the remote access, something was must be wrong on my end. Well not a whole lot can be done when I’m 3,000 miles away without in-house tech support. I finally accepted defeat and closed my husband’s computer. And guess what? I actually began to feel myself truly relax and turn off for the first time since leaving Raleigh. I began to notice how piercingly blue the clear water around me was. I began to hear the distinct sounds of a bustling city full of people speaking languages entirely different from mine. I began to truly taste the complexities of the wine. The universe gently pushed me to heed my own advice and be still- and I loved it.
Being still takes consistent practice- it is not something that most of us can simply do. I am grateful for the practice of yoga and all it teaches me about stillness within the movement. I invite you to come and join me in this practice for our monthly Third Thursday Yoga with Results PT and Kathleen Yount of Blue Lotus.
Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.