My friend Martha recently sent me Pico Iyer’s little book The Art of Stillness.
For me it was a timely and important read just as I was heading out to a rustic campsite off the grid for a personal retreat. Iyer not only makes the case in a new way why regular times of “going nowhere” are important, but shares some ideas about how people do so amidst busy lives.
“These days in the age of movement and connection, space …has been annihilated by time; we feel as though we can make contact with almost anywhere at any moment. But fast as geography is coming under control, the clock is exerting more and more tyranny over us. And the more we can contact others, the more it seems, we lose contact with ourselves.“
~ Pico Iyer, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere
The irony is not lost on me that in my role leading the Center that I must constantly tend to cultivating the connection to myself amidst that flurry of demands and connections. Inspired by this book, I used my retreat to strengthen three practices that help me connect to self.
First, I reflected on the deeply encouraging idea that I have/I am all I need. I sometimes fall into the trap of thinking there’s some new bit of knowledge or a new answer out there that I lack. Then I remember that the greatest gift I can bring to my work (to my friends, my family, my community) is myself, warts and all. I have/I am all I need.
Second, I’m reminded that I ought to meditate, sit faithfully each morning, bringing my attention back to a point of focus for 30 minutes. It never fails to transform my day, particularly in moments when the going gets rough.
Finally, Iyer gave me a new twist on just letting my mind wander playfully without direction and focus. I realized how seldom I allow myself to do this during very full and busy weeks. I rediscovered how such times not only refresh my mind but unleash creative thinking that shifts my view of the problems I face and the solutions. Doing so this week reminded me of those times as a child when I’d be lost in creative play for what seemed like endless hours.
Today, I’m back at work. The flow of demands is a strong as ever but I’m facing it a bit more connected to myself than when I left the office.
How do you cultivate the connection to yourself amidst the flurry of demands?
With gratitude and best wishes,
P.S. Reconnect to your true self at a Courage & Renewal program.
Today’s blog is a mirror of our monthly Words of EnCOURAGEment e-newsletter. If you’re not a subscriber yet, sign up so you don’t miss anything!