In a world that won’t stop moving — it seems impossible to be still.
We hear it f*king everywhere: meditate more, Have you tried bullet journaling… wanna see my vision board..?
All these things are great, and dude, to each his own; what do these self-professed-life-gurus mean exactly by “being in the moment,” “changing your mindset,” and “manifesting your best life… hashtag-motivate” *rolls eyes*
What they’re trying to say is ‘slow your brain the hell down’ so it doesn’t crash and burn before you even have an opportunity to put your ideas into action. If left to its own devices you will be a human doing, with thoughts that are allowed to rebelliously run rampant, aimlessly coloring on the walls of the mind, without a care for the mess they leave behind.
The human brain is hardwired to function for foresight — meaning it’s most concerned with planning for future events to make sure that you, the human, don’t die (isn’t that thoughtful?!)
As a result, countless thoughts consume our mental energy, thereby detracting you from a new path of BEING that you’re more than capable of paving.
And in our digitized society it’s hard to remember just how much choice we actually have. We think that we are beholden to our thoughts, emotions, devices; that our identities are synonymous with what we do; somewhere down the line, we forgot that we’re NOT human doings. We’re human beings.
The constant doing is what keeps us from remaining still in the first place. Our survival based monkey-brain is so busy planning for the next potential threat — it forgets that most if not all of our survival needs — are more-or-less already met.
Most fear sitting still because we’re afraid of what the brain might say, do — or worse — make us feeel. For some, stillness is like kryptonite. Too still for too long and we’ll feel all the feels, put up a fight with the thoughts that bully us daily, resulting in “analysis paralysis” and the need to get moving.
Stillness itself is NOT a bad thing; it’s also not as complicated as some would like you to believe.
A lot of self professed ‘life-experts’ prey on our inability to be still by further perpetuating the stigma of ‘do more, suck it up and why aren’t you enough yet” mentalities, that are brutally toxic to the human brain and body.
While your brain might sometimes feel like a bully, it’s not.
It’s just trying to process the millions of signals that fire like rockets one right after the other — often going unprocessed, causing emotional, cortisol-inducing clogging of the mind.
It sucks. There’s no doubt about it. But until we learn how to be still in the present moment and befriend our brains, we’ll force our visions to remain exclusively on vision-boards. Rather than relying on the law of attraction, try taking on the law of action — in this case sitting with yourself to sift through your thoughts — and actually actualize them into reality.
The objective when seeking stillness is to achieve a heightened awareness, while in deepened relaxation. A state in which the body is buzzy and the brain is allowed to process thoughts, emotions, dreams and aspirations, in a way that offers closer and connection of neural pathways. Rather than the brain feeling like a computer in overdrive with open tabs; it simmers down its processing power long enough for you to experience what it’s like… to be… ya know… a human BEING.
The most common practice is Meditation — which is the act of allowing relaxation of the physical body, while maintaining conscious awareness. It’s one of the most effective ways to achieve this state of being, also known as “Theta” for the types of waves emitted in the brain.
Traditional meditation is NOT a forced 20 minutes in your day — where ya hope to float like a Jedi and find the winning lotto numbers. Rather it’s a chosen state of being that ripples through your entire life. The meditative state can be accessed anytime, anywhere — yes… really.
The goal of meditation is to, simply, quiet the thinking mind, while bringing your full sensory awareness, and consciousness, into the present moment. In doing so, unifying your brain and body into your (human) being. You can meditate in the shower, on a walk, while you create, in the gym or wherever you feel the most… you.
Ironically, stillness can also be achieved through movement — like mindful lifting, yoga or dance, creative endeavors like: drawing, writing or painting. A meditative state can be attained in any activity that allows your brain to peacefully exist in the flow state of the present moment. Where thoughts hush, your body goes “whoosh,” and you have the space to be… you!
Sometimes, our body uses ‘flow’ as an opportunity to process, let go of, and/or experience, something that it’s been holding onto for a long time. This could mean releasing emotions, muscle spasms, and closure of outdated mental cycles.
Which unfortunately — and fortunately — has the potential to elicit the ‘dreaded’ emotional response (ya know “the feeelz”). Which can be uncomfortable and confronting if you’re new to feeling your feelings.
That is okay — you’re not alone by any stretch of the imagination.
Allowing these emotions to pass, with the awareness that they are temporary, is incredibly healthy — for your brain, body, and being.
UNSURE OF WHERE / HOW TO BEGIN? TRY THESE STEPS:
1. LET IT SURFACE
Allow the blocked emotion to surface in its own time. Don’t force it, or try to consume it all in one bite.
2. VALIDATE THE EXPERIENCE
It’s likely that the emotion your experiencing is stale; an unanswered aspect of a past experience far beyond its experiation date. That’s okay. Let it surface, affirm & allow it.
3. WHEN WAS YOUR EARLIEST INPUT?
Actually ask the physical sensation when it was first placed there. Be patient and focus on your breath until it arises. It’s likely you’ll get a flash of a memory, moment in time. How old were you? Where were you? What happened that triggered your survival response?
4. WHAT DID YOU NEED THEN?
Again, ask the sensation what did you need THEN? What wisdom, clarity, evidence do you have to offer past-you from your present awareness?
5. REDIRECT THE SIGNAL & ANCHOR INTO THE PRESENT
With your newly affirmed experience, awareness of what was as compared to what is, and the clarity you’ve gained, feel, and then effectively release the sensation via intentional breath, movement, creativity or conversation with a trusted human.
*take your time with this — it is not something that happens immediately. Be patient, compassionate and give yourself the grace you so freely give to others.
*REPEAT AS MANY TIMES AS NECESSARY UNTIL YOU’VE ACHIEVED A LEVEL OF CONTENTMENT IN THE PRESENT*
When we become accustomed to stillness via the allowance of emotional expression, those fears become a lot less scary. It’s like going through a haunted house the first time vs. the 50th.
Eventually you’re gonna know where the ghouls and goblins are hiding and how to brace yourself should they jump out at ya now and again. You can learn how to navigate the nooks and crannies of the mind with greater confidence, fearlessness — and if you’re doin’ it right — a lot more play.
While it feels like the brain is a big ol’ bully that pushes around your thoughts, self image, and perspective, for their lunch money it’s just begging for sometime to process the millions of signals it receives on the daily. When we aren’t still — we negate our bodies ability to heal, repair, and rebuild — mentally, emotionally and physically.
Oh, and fitness side-note, Stillness is also advantageous when it comes to getting fear out of the way before a major lift. Anchor your brain and body into the present and fully experience your sensory being just a moment before lifting. This primes the nervous system for optimal contraction, ensures your focus, and promotes powerful execution. Tell me it’s not a whole new world… I’ll wait 😉