Tuesday, 6 October 2015
Eight years to calm
Almost eight years ago I was told that part of my destiny was to learn calm. To be calm. Might not sound like such a feat but at the time I had just emerged from severe exhaustion and ever-slowly out of what felt like an all-consuming frantic auto-immune disease and back into health. I was still recovering, and learning so much about my body and what worked and didn't work for me.
I knew the opposite of calm had got me to that state. I knew I was learning calm. Very slowly. I was better at creating calm. But to be calm? That seemed impossible to me. And being told my destiny involved this invoked tears. Because what was calm anyway? And how? Staying healthy seemed so hard. Tell me how to be calm, I begged.
Just the thought of having to somehow find calm as a natural state made me much less than calm. But of course, that was the whole point. Calm can't be controlled or manipulated. Calm just is. It can be invited though. And created, and embraced. And the instant this dawned on me, I surrendered - and all at once gave up on pushing myself to be the me I needed to be to remain healthy.
Instead I focused on what felt happy to me, instead of doing and moving all the time I stayed still and breathed (and it was hard at first), I pulled away from anything that might equal busy which meant learning to say no (and that was especially hard for me). I read a lot, I spoke to a lot of people, I researched, I tried new ways of being/eating/moving and learnt so so much. And most definitely the eight years to this point right now (insert three babies, three house moves and various job changes) have seen me fine-tune my calm-for-me skills.
Yesterday I cancelled plans (because rushing doesn't agree with me), a fortnight ago I booked into yoga classes again for this term (because I know my body, heart and mind will thrive in that one hour) and last week after setting up various creative pursuits for the kids I decided it was what I needed too and spent an hour drawing and painting. For the past three months I've been reading books and more books (on to my fifth) and for the past five days I have turned my meditating-whenever-I get-a-free-chance-habit into a nightly rhythm for as long as my mind, heart and body choose (sometimes five minutes, sometimes twenty).
And today while I walked in the sunshine I wondered how my energy could feel so good when I'm on broken nightly sleep thanks to my beautiful teething almost-five month old baby. My answer to myself is this sense of nurture and self that's come from my investment in calm pursuits. Suddenly all the little things I've taught myself over eight years have come together. And I'm sure it's not one of them, but all of them. And I suddenly realised I'm doing more than okay. And I think I'm coming close to working out this calm caper. Well, for me anyway.
How do you do calm? And any book recommendations?