As summer comes to a close and the new school year begins, we have to adjust to the "new normal".
While it's always nice to find routine again, back-to-school often turns into chaos -- papers to fill out, classroom activity sign-ups, stores out of school supplies, and a lot more.
This sudden flurry of activity can lead to frustration, anxiety and disappointment ("Mom, I didn't get the teacher I wanted...I don't have any friends in my class...The backpack I wanted is sold out...").
So, how in the world can you find time to be still when everything is so crazy? It's possible, but you have to be intentional.
For as long as I can remember, I've loved the phrase “be still”, but stillness is elusive, hard to corral, requires tools and takes practice.
There’s deep meaning in these two very simple words.
For the sake of analogy, consider getting a manicure or pedicure...something where you literally have to “be still” or you’ll leave with a mess. Do you twist your ankles or wiggle your fingers while your nails are being painted? No, you sit still as your hands, feet, nails are cared for, washed, massaged, painted... in this moment, your choice to not move gives way to something relaxing and beautiful!
Stillness births beauty.
When I am still, I am present.
When I am present, I am available to listen, to absorb, to reflect, to think...
For me, being still is not always just a lack of movement. It’s a restorative, active part of life.
Being still is not stagnant. It is not lethargy or laziness.
Stillness is the opposite of what Western culture deems successful. Too bad. Think of all of the beauty that could be in the making.
Reconsider what it means to “be still”.
Write it on your heart.
Live it in your life.
Practice it in meditation and prayer.
Find your "go-to" source for stillness and GO THERE!
It doesn't have to be complicated. Think about what stillness looks like (or could look like) for you:
- Are you uncomfortable being still?
- Do you feel like you’re being lazy when you take time out for yourself?
- Do you know how to be still?
- Does your “to do” list clutter your thoughts and interfere with quiet?
I have wrestled with these same questions myself. Over the years, I’ve had to learn what it looks like to be still and how to do it when my brain won’t stop talking.
The thoughts are legitimate but trying to shut them down isn’t the answer to decluttering your mind. However, you can acknowledge what you are thinking, affirm that the chaotic chatter is normal, but also give yourself permission to think the thoughts—know you have things to do—but save the doing for later (even if it’s just 2 minutes later).
Do you have any “Be Still” tools in your mental toolbox? I have some "go-tos" like:
- Take a quick respite in a quiet place
- Listen to a guided meditation
- Practice deep breathing
- Give yourself grace
- Allow yourself permission
Remind yourself that “being still” is not only okay, but it is essential to your health, productivity and purpose and even your sanity, especially during the Back-to-School fight, fury--and fun (yes, remember, some of it is fun!).
Laura Lyn Donahue is a mom of 5 (4 adult kids and a 9-year-old). She’s passionate about family, friends and kindness making her feel right at home working with LUMITORY. She is a freelance writer, editor and poet. Her past times include sending snail mail, penning blog posts and toasting the sunset from her front porch in Franklin, TN.