Stillness – that moment of pure existence – where the senses are irrelevant and you are but a molecule in that great what is – that is the moment that eludes me during my days.

I try to find time to touch it – but it seems that in this life of clocks and boys and bills and noise it is so very out of reach.  There are times it feels closer – like when I am spinning wool and my attention is focused on the movement of fiber through my fingers – but even then it is pushed aside by the wool – the breaks in the fibers, the concentration on the task.  There always seems to be something in the way.

I picked up the book “Start Where You Are” by Pema Chodron – the title seemed to say it all at the time.  I opened to the first chapter titled “No Escape, No Problem”.  Yup – that speaks to me too.  I read the first sentence – “We Already Have Everything We Need”.  Yes – I need to remember this and keep that in my focus.  And then she spoke about the importance of maintaining a practice, beginning with the practice of meditation, and I faltered.

I have tried to find the time to sit and meditate – to seek to shut out everything and be still – but there is no space in this house of children to make my own and no time when the noises of the village do not invade the house, even when everyone is away.  Even in the early morning, there are still the sounds of trucks outside and snoring – both dogs and humans – which invade the stillness.  My breath is mixed with all of these – and the stillness escapes my grasp.

So I am accepting that my life is not putting me in a place where I can be still – where the noises of the world will leave me in peace.  And if I have everything I need, then maybe I don’t need it right now – I just want it.  So I will continue to look for that opening in space and time where I can be still, knowing that for now, the noise of life is what I need – and I certainly have plenty of that!

Be well.


About Shelly R.

I am a Mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, an attorney, a crafter and the granddaughter of an amazing woman - my Polish Grandmother. My Grandmother gave me so much, through her love and her patience, her sayings and her time teaching me how to craft and to give to others, that it seemed fitting to share some of that wisdom, to tell some of her story, and to chat about life and crafts in a way that would be a testament to what she gave me.
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7 Responses to Stillness

  1. becky says:

    Psst…. come over for an hour! Jen’s mom and sister was saying that it seemed unearthly quiet at my house!

  2. Amanda says:

    What a beautiful post, Shel! You are such a wonderful writer.

    Funny thing, stillness. We’re always searching for it, for quiet, for peace. But you know what? I have finally realized that stillness doesn’t have to be physical stillness or silence. As you have written, the world just isn’t like that. Even trying to find inner stillness, the heart still beats, the breath still goes in and out, my ears still ring. (Sometimes when I meditate, I stop breathing, but how long can you do that?)

    Lately I have been trying something more like mindfulness for that sense of serenity–trying to stay in a constant mild state of meditation. The stillness is, in your words, “the great what is.” If I can expand my sense of self to include everything around me and beyond–that great what is–the stillness is amazingly there. I’m trying to make my whole existence, all day, like that, but I get sucked into focusing on little things, and forget to be expansive. Walking outdoors (from the car to the grocery store), walking around in large indoor areas, and cooking seem to be the easiest times. Interacting with people are the weirdest times to do it (and hardest). Maybe someday I’ll get it. Or maybe I need to get me to a nunnery.

    • Shelly R. says:

      When you find that nunnery, give me a call (hah!). I agree with you – it is the interactions that throw me – and with all of the kids at home and the job which has me constantly interacting with kids (as clients), social workers, other attorneys, judges, clerks – it is so hard to stay centered. I am trying learn how to ground and center sitting in a desk chair. I am finding that, as I age, my mind is just shutting down at night – like it is deciding that enough is enough. Then I have to pick up stuff to do with my hands – patch a pair of jeans, knit something, or read a book. I feel like the stillness I am seeking is right there – just beyond my reach – I just have to be patient and obstacles will resolve themselves. At least that is what I am telling myself for now. I like your work with mindfulness. I will have to see if I can get back there. (Something about finding out your kid did not finish the school project that he never told you he had keeps pushing me out of that constant state of meditation). I have everything I need, I have everything I need, I have. . . . . . . .

      • Barbara Antonelli says:

        My darling Daughter, you can do anything you set your mind to…you’re such a blessing to your kid clients,you change their lives for the better……you’re a wonderful seamstress….your photos are amazing….your writing, just makes me want your stories to keep on going…you’re a great listener, you never interrupt ( that’s something that will never be said about me )…. you love to cook Gourmet meals, and you do it most every night…you’ve taught your boys to be phenomenal mini chefs,( and without them, it would take a little longer to get those meals done..Ha) …you knit the most beautiful sweaters and shawls, and still make time to spin and dye your yarns from plants that you’ve grown. I could go on and on, and I will just one more time….and you’re one of the best daughters a Mom could ever have! You always are there for me and you’ve given me some of the best gifts I’ve ever had, my grandson Chris being at the top of the list….and just a hair below, my son-in-law Chip. Words can’t describe what a wonderful guy he is……….so you see Honey, you just need to relax a little more, and maybe go see a movie every now and then. It works wonders for me!

        Love you more, Mom P.S. Thanks for the always happy sounding, “Hi Mom” when you call…..It makes my day

  3. Ashling says:

    Shel, this is just a beautiful post. You have been missed in the blogosphere & I’m glad to see you back. This may sound silly, but the shower is a good place to meditate. If you can still hear the chaos, bring in some meditative music. Water lends itself so well to meditation….

    • Shelly R. says:

      I have found that meditating in the shower leads to rinsing my hair in cold water. (Hah!) I need a bigger hot water heater to have enough time to shower AND meditate.

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