at the still point, there the dance is  ~ T. S. Elliott

 

The word stillness comes from the Middle English, stillnesse for tranquility, peace, security.

It’s paradoxical to think of dancing in stillness, but isn’t that what many of us are doing now? It’s been a month of social isolation for me, my husband and two dogs. Our retired lifestyle was already quiet. After we moved to Wyoming, we stopped hosting potlucks with our friends. Family gatherings here are on hold. It’s Easter Sunday and we have six inches of new snow.

Our society wasn’t used to being still, stillness needed to be cultivated or scheduled in. It’s possible to be still but not calm. Emotions and feelings rise up, internal dialogue is noisy, agitation continues. It takes practice and those of us who are healthy or don’t have a houseful of hungry children have the opportunity to practice now. Not everyone is getting a privileged time out. And, in spite of our collective stillness, there isn’t a feeling of security.

I like this old word, stillnesse. Shakespeare used it to mean restraint, sobriety, quietness of behavio(u)r. We are restraining ourselves socially but perhaps not so much on social media. There are too many theories, ideas, facts, pseudo-facts, and predictions. Media runs amuck with fear mongering.

Nobody really knows what the future holds. We never did but it looks different now than it did even a month ago. I had to reduce the amount of news and posts I was consuming just to maintain some level of sanity.

The challenge is staying out of fear and remaining in today, being present within the moment. There are articles galore about how or when or if we can return to some state of normalcy. They cause me to become more anxious and worry about all the what if’s.

I’m grateful that I have coping skills, abilities I’ve been practicing for a long time. Sobriety. Meditation. Mindfulness. Lovingkindness. Creativity. I’m writing, drumming, painting, walking when the weather is nice. I also binge watch Netflix and Hulu. I’m human.

What do you think about cultivating stillnesse? What do you wish you could do?

One thing for sure – we’re all in this together. Globally.

In the future, I’d like to see humans return to a deeper sense of community with more willingness to help each other. We need to consume fewer natural resources and give back to the planet in the spirit of reciprocity. It’s going to take a huge shift in consciousness.

Stillnesse could be a new, quieter way of life that allows for more reflection and less noise.

Why not?

At this still point in time, anything is possible.

 

 

 

8 Comments

  1. Tanya Levy on April 12, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    I too hope this leaves us more community minded 💚

  2. Loran Hills on April 12, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    More equity and justice, too.

  3. Kate on April 13, 2020 at 10:50 am

    Nice, Loran. I hope for more empathy…

    • Loran Hills on April 13, 2020 at 11:23 am

      Yes. There’s a lot to add to this list.

  4. Tammy Vitale on April 14, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    I’ve had to cut back on FB, and political stuff. I still read in the morning but even that has been curtailed – it’s all the same old same old – nothing is changing. So I plan to continue focusing on my creativity in it’s many guises. That is where I find stillnesse – when I am focused and channeling energy that wants some kind of expression. This is lovely! Thank you for the beautiful thoughts!

    • Loran Hills on April 14, 2020 at 3:32 pm

      I’m glad you’re focusing on your creativity because what you create is spectacular!

  5. Debra Marrs on April 19, 2020 at 11:44 am

    “Stillnesse.” What a great word! I’m feeling that stillnesse as Shakespeare’s version – behavioral change – as I’m not trying to keep up with ALL the noise on social media. As you write, I’m adopting ‘a new, quieter way of life that allows for more reflection and less noise.’ More journal time. More art making. More walks. More staring out the window. Just because I can. And especially now as time seems to have slowed down. Wow! What a collective shift for the good!

    • Loran Hills on April 19, 2020 at 12:55 pm

      Time seems to have completely warped now! Slowing down has been good for a lot of us, maybe not everyone. Practicing stillnesse helps.

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