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On Stillness

I recently moved into my friends house. It’s on the water, surrounded by nature, and is away from the noise I was accustomed to. Because of this I imagined myself taking more time for thought, meditation, staring at the river, and generally becoming one with nature.  I was quickly reminded that I am terrible at stillness. I’m talking, brain-is-short-circuiting level terrible. Over the years I have tried meditation, yoga, and all the apps that exist to turn me into a zen lady who exudes calmness, but it’s simply not possible. I say “Time to be calm and still,” and my brain hears “Let’s think about that random thing you said 7 years ago to that person you’ll never see again” or “Hey, real quick, let’s ponder who our president is for a minute”.

In the past few weeks I’ve tried to decrease social media time to see if it helps with my ability to focus. Mainly because I’m aware that seeing every single tragedy and moral shortcoming happen in real time through Twitter, etc. has greatly affected my ability to be still and in this moment. 

What I’ve found is that the stillness creates anxiety, and this is a newer thing for me over the past few years. I don’t know if this comes with age, or if it just comes with the world feeling like it’s burning at all times. I’d love to get to the bottom of this, as I can fully recall my old life, where there wasn’t a tiny little cloud of existential dread hanging around at all times. Basically, I want my pre-Trump reality back and I am coming to terms with the fact this is not how life works. I can’t unknow this new world; I can only work toward figuring out my place in it, and seeking out ways to better it, even if they’re small. I do believe retraining my brain not to run from stillness will be a huge part of this, and I plan to find ways to practice this over the coming weeks. I simply don’t believe we have to live in chaos, as much as we tend to keep ourselves in it.

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