“Once you know yourself in this living stillness there is nothing in this world that is greater than you”
As human beings, we often hear the word “Stillness”, but what does that really mean? How can we, as healthcare professionals, incorporate it into our busy lives when we have been trained to move and move fast because the pace at which we move can mean the difference between life and death for those we care for causing little to no time for us to “BE”?
Martha Beck, the author of The Joy Diet, has this to say about stillness: “doing nothing is the most productive activity you will ever undertake.” Michael Hyatt elaborates, saying that stillness is nothing more than being; it means being still, quieting your mind, and just existing in that moment.
Let’s take a deep dive into the practice of stillness, but first let’s lay some fundamental ground rules for the practice of stillness:
• If you want to live purposefully as a healthcare provider, then you have to go through the process of discovery and stillness is a critical component of discovery.
• The information provided in this guide are actual things that I have done to get into the practice of stillness and they WORK if you WORK.
• The practice of stillness takes time!! It will not happen overnight, and you will NOT start off doing it for 1 hour at a time. Start off doing it for 5 minutes daily for 1 week and then increase to 10 minutes the next week and so on from there.
• When you first start your mind is going to be all over the place (when I first started my mind had 50 things running through it making me say “now how is this peaceful” (LOL), but the more you do it the more your mind will become trained and know this is “Being time”.
Now here are some actionable steps that you can start taking NOW to begin your journey of stillness:
1. Set a daily quiet hour (or 10 minutes!) routine in a quiet place that brings you serenity
As healthcare professionals, we have routines established for many different areas of our lives, but none for the most important part, which is “ US”. Make time for yourself no matter what! Start your day 20-30 minutes earlier if needed to ensure you make this time for yourself (if you are anything like me, then you hug the bed to the last minute trying to get every minute you can get. But these extra minutes that you will allow yourself to sit in stillness will be worth it, trust me!) I recommend doing it first thing in the morning after brushing your teeth to avoid getting caught up in the business of the day and forget.
2. Cut off ALL electronic devices
I mean every single one of them! Our family and friends, emails, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. can do without you for 10-60 minutes per day. You don’t have to be accessible at all times, honest. Make it a practice to spend meaningful time each day unplugged.
3. Learn to listen
This one sounds easy, but sometimes it can be challenging because as humans we often feel that we have to talk, give our opinion, and respond, but everything doesn’t require you to open your mouth. Make a conscious decision to listen more and talk less in your relationships with others and with God.
4. Like Nike… JUST DO IT!
Don’t worry so much about how to do it (I know the people on T.V. like Russell Simmons do it so pretty with his nice pillow, yoga gear, & candles, LOL), but that is not critical. You can start off by laying in the bed on your back, sitting in a chair, sitting on the sofa, or sitting in the car and then work your way up to sitting on the floor with your yoga mat with your legs crossed perfectly, shoulders back, etc. In the beginning, just focus on doing it!
Steps 5-11 on page two.