I sit in the studio. Classical music fills the air and in front of me, my daughter Grace, works through her ballet level examination. Focus fills her determined eleven year old face as she meticulously moves through pattern after pattern after pattern.
It is quiet.
Even with the classical music around, it is a world of stillness.
I sit there. With my phone, that electronic phone that goes with me everywhere, with the ringer now completely off, and the email unchecked, and the twitter stream temporarily silent.
It was uncomfortable.
Even in my intentional focus of not letting social media rule my world there is this odd letting go of being in the constant and steady stream of information that blurs time together and makes one dependent on always being needed, on, and in the know.
She was in front of me. Trying, oh so hard, to not smile as she worked patiently through each combination. Feet pointed, graceful hands, and intense concentration. I could see that she was watching me – from behind the serious look – her eyes would catch mine, just for a second, checking to make sure I was paying attention. Me that ever so distracted mom.
I kept my phone in my purse. This was the second day I had attended examinations, and on the first day, I had my phone on my lap – I was waiting for a text from my oldest daughter letting me know she arrived home – and I took a couple pictures. But this day, this Friday, I wanted to learn to be in the still again and live in the moment of watching my daughter.
I wanted to let my focus be focused.
Still makes one listen to the dialogue in the mind – a dialogue that can be pushed aside as we race from thing to thing to thing. Still takes work. I wanted to pick up the phone, to check messages, to take a picture. As I sat there watching pattern after pattern I began to realize just how rapid the world is that I live in and how until one removes themselves from it the frenzy is simply accepted. Noise, alarms, notifications, and more are no longer something new but something normal.
Our culture numbs the ability to become comfortable in the still.
And yet, we are meant to be able, to be comfortable in the still.
But, how? How to cultivate times of stillness in a media saturated noisy world?
Grand battement – I hear the instructor tell them the next set.
She starts another pattern. Then it hits me. It’s training, discipline – much like my eleven year old ballerina. Her classes are mainly spent perfecting the art of ballet and not as much time on the performance. Yet, the performance, the recitals are exquisitely beautiful – because the forms, the posture, is perfected. I began to realize that creating moments of stillness within this frenzied pace of life will allow greater clarification and energy to filter to the rest of life.
I need to unplug more than I already do – to retrain my brain, my mind, my body, to be comfortable in the quiet so that I have more energy for the noise. And this, this will help me be a better mother, wife, friend, writer, and well, me. Stillness is an art, and like art, needs to be cultivated, perfected and practiced.
Laptop lid closed now.
How about you? Are you comfortable in the still? How do you cultivate moments of intentionality within the frenzy of a busy media saturated life?