Chapter Fifty-Six

A friend recently commented on an old Facebook post from 2009 that his brother had posted and it resonated very deeply with me at such a bustling time as the holidays.

Yes, the holidays are supposed to be spent with family, you're supposed to be surrounded by love and good cheer. But there's still so much to accomplish. There’s so much that’s expected. There’s so much to finish out before the year is over and you swear off all the bad to welcome in the new.

I wanted to share it with you today.

I hope it speaks to you as it does me. I hope it helps you to take a second to appreciate all around you. It is crucial at such a time as this.

“Be still.

Just for a moment.

Listen to the world around you. Feel your breath coming in and going out. Listen to your thoughts. See the details of your surroundings.

Be at peace with being still.

In this modern world, activity and movement are the default modes, if not with our bodies then at least with our minds, with our attention. We rush around all day, doing things, talking, emailing, sending and reading messages, clicking from browser tab to the next, one link to the next.

We are always on, always connected, always thinking, always talking. There is no time for stillness — and sitting in front of a frenetic computer all day, and then in front of the hyperactive television, doesn’t count as stillness.

This comes at a cost: we lose that time for contemplation, for observing and listening. We lose peace.

And worse yet: all the rushing around is often counterproductive. I know, in our society action is all-important — inaction is seen as lazy and passive and unproductive. However, sometimes too much action is worse than no action at all. You can run around crazily, all sound and fury, but get nothing done. Or you can get a lot done — but nothing important. Or you can hurt things with your actions, make things worse than if you’d stayed still 

And when we are forced to be still — because we’re in line for something, or waiting at a doctor’s appointment, or on a bus or train — we often get antsy, and need to find something to do. Some of us will have our mobile devices, others will have a notebook or folder with things to do or read, others will fidget. Being still isn’t something we’re used to.

Take a moment to think about how you spend your days — at work, after work, getting ready for work, evenings and weekends. Are you constantly rushing around? Are you constantly reading and answering messages, checking on the news and the latest stream of information? Are you always trying to Get Lots of Things Done, ticking off tasks from your list like a machine, rushing through your schedule?

Is this how you want to spend your life?

If so, peace be with you. If not, take a moment to be still. Don’t think about what you have to do, or what you’ve done already. Just be in the moment.

Then after a minute or two of doing that, contemplate your life, and how you’d like it to be. See your life with less movement, less doing, less rushing. See it with more stillness, more contemplation, more peace.

Then be that vision.

It’s pretty simple, actually: all you have to do is sit still for a little bit each day. Once you’ve gotten used to that, try doing less each day. Breathe when you feel yourself moving too fast. Slow down. Be present. Find happiness now, in this moment, instead of waiting for it.

Savor the stillness. It’s a treasure, and it’s available to us, always.”

Always.

This was written in 2009, and it applies even more deeply now as we near 2017 with all the social media, technology, etc we are surrounded with. I feel like this sentiment is even more crucial around the Christmas season. It’s a typical Scrooge moment, where you reflect back on how unhappy you were in past years trying to do the things that you felt like you had to accomplish as opposed to seizing fun opportunities and living in the moment.

Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself!!

Don’t get caught up on what you feel you have to do.

Enjoy this joyous and bright season and all it has to offer!!

I am incredibly thankful for the past two weeks. We had an incredible hometown show and ALL my family came, which has never happened. It was a huge sold out show in an arena that I saw my heroes in growing up, so it was so surreal!! I wanted to make my family and friends proud. I wanted to make myself proud. I feel like I did that.

My Thanksgiving break was full of delicious food and incredible friends. My tummy was so full and so was my heart!! I had forgotten the power of friendship, how wonderful friends can be. Being able to spend time with so many, even if we hadn’t talked in a long time, lifted me so high I felt like I could brush the sky with my fingertips!! It rejuvenated me to then return to Los Angeles to foster and care for the beautiful life I’d created there.

It made me so happy! I am so very happy.

I will always be haunted by insecurities, by skeletons in my closet, by my fear of the unknown and my lack of confidence in myself to believe in my abilities. I will have the best day in the world to only feel like it’s all fake and dark the day after.

But wow, look at how far I’ve come!

Look at how far you’ve come! How far we’ve all come.

Take pride in your accomplishments, no matter how small they may be. They are still steps forward.

Be happy and safe this holiday season, even if it feels dark. Sometimes all the happiness sure can make sadness even more obvious, huh?

Even so, wonder at the beauty of the twinkling Christmas lights. The magic they create.

Throw on your comfiest pair of socks and wiggle your toes. Enjoy the feeling.

Be happy for other people’s happiness, even if their level of happy is much higher than your own. Be at peace that they have it.

Be still.

Listen. Love. Cherish.

Looking forward to it. <3

Love,

Kirstin

 

 

P.S. I found the article that my friend had posted online. Credit to Leo Babauta. Thank you for your wise words. Thank you, my friend, for your wisdom and the love you spread to others. Your reach and care lives on always.

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