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.
At this still point in time, anything is possible.