It's Okay to Stop

2013 was a push it to the limit year for me.  I opened my own acupuncture office and added about five more titles to my job description.  It was a year of a lot of forward movement that required a lot of energy and effort.

Suffice to say there were no vacations in 2013.  My resolution for this year was to build in retreat for myself.  To continue to show up full tilt-for myself and all of you-requires regular filling of the soul cup.

I was counting down the hours until last weekend’s Melting Heart Yoga Retreat in Canaan, NY.  I just needed to stop.  Literally, stop doing, trying, working, all things ending in ‘ing other than being.

When you never stop, there isn’t time for anything to bubble up into consciousness.  Our issues remain firmly entrenched in our tight shoulder or in the pressure behind our eyes, even the bones in our feet that are growing off track.  It’s all there, just being stored until we string enough quiet moments together to allow a single thought to come to light.

“I’m anxious.  I’m not breathing.  That still hurts me.  I’m angry.  I’m so scared.  I have not forgiven you.”

And then once we have that thought, we need even more space and time to figure out what to do with it.  Shed a tear.  Choose to let go.  Choose to let something else in.  Release the grip on a muscle you didn’t even realize was tight.  Find someone to help you.  Ask for a hug.

Stillness is one of the answers.  Without removing the static, we are just barreling through life being “busy”.  Never stopping, never stalling, never stilling.  Just humming and filling space with events, meetings, calls, texts, status updates, and checking-always checking and refreshing.

It is astonishing what filters up through the mind and heart when you give yourself permission to be still.  The thing about being given permission is that you can’t hear it just once for it to really sink into your bones.  It bears repeating.  You need to be bathed in permission.

Honor yourself.  Take time for yourself.  It’s okay.  This time is just for you.  And again…

I needed to hear it about twenty times before my spirit could say okay.  I walked in the door of the inn and I did not exit for 48 hours.  People were doing all kinds of fun stuff-taking hikes and going swimming at the spa.

I had this little tug that said-“You’re going to miss out on fun times and bonding opportunities!  You should be taking advantage of the outdoors!  You’re finally in nature (hallelujah!) and you aren’t going outside!  Ahhhhhhhh!”

But my soul said:  “I don’t wanna.  I don’t want to be cold or wet or uncozy for a single second.  I will receive everything I need right here.”

I sat by the fire and read poetry for hours.  I’ve never done that in my life.  When that stopped feeling interesting I wrote.  When that stopped feeling interesting, I did something else.

I followed every whim as it came to retreat, to connect, to speak, to be silent, to be with others, to be alone, to move, to lay down, to close my eyes, to keep them open.  And it was glorious.

I found all of the exact perfect people to connect to.  Questions were answered that I didn’t even know I was asking.  Many tears were shed and it was safe.  Layers came off.

This is one of the beautiful quotes that was shared by Gabrielle Epstein Casper-the fantastic yoga teacher/guru/all around mind blowingly lovely woman who taught us:

 

"The most important relationship we can all have is the one you have with yourself, the most important journey you can take is one of self-discovery. To know yourself, you must spend time with yourself, you must not be afraid to be alone. Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom."

~ Aristotle

 

This rings so true for me.  Healing is not a singular event.  We may know it’s a process but not know quite what that means.  For me, it means that I just keep shedding.  I put bits and pieces of my burden down when I can.  I allow myself to sit with what is and just look at it with a curious mind.

My prescription is to find some piece of extended stillness in your life to tenderly allow what needs to come up.  I wish you love and grace for whatever part of your process you are in.  We are all in it with you.