“Sit, be still, and listen.”Rumi
Stillness is the absence of motion, inactivity, or inaction. For some, it is nearly an insurmountable state of being. To be still with our whole body takes effort – settling our physical self, suspending our thoughts, and slowing our breath. When we practice stillness in nature, it nourishes our intention to gather guidance from the Earth and frees us to inherit insights from the creative forces that brought us into being. Sinking into our stillness, we find our inner peace, our true power and magic.
The land on which I live is the ancestral land of the Algonquin-speaking Apamatic, Appomattac, or Appomatuck, people. They are one of four sub-tribes of the Powhatan Confederacy. They nurtured the land along the lower Appomattox River, the path I walk along daily. Although the small park is not far from the main road, this part of the river runs wild. As I sit in stillness along its bank, I often visualize the vigorous life that once encompassed this river – the deep love, respect, and kinship for land and water. I smell the wood fires and hear the wafting voices of those that once walked the river’s slippery edges.
At the Winter Solstice, I had reverently released the people and things that were no longer serving me. As I stood in stillness along the river one cold, cloudy February morning, I listened to its relentless roar. With large amounts of rainfall, the river was foamy and fast moving. Many of the rocks normally peeking above its surface had disappeared under the deep, deluge of water. As I stood along the river’s shore, I felt a shortness of breath, like I was drowning. The ferocious flow fervently brought forth together all that I had released and requested in the months of darkness. What I had set free was swiftly swept away by the current. I was not ready! Come back! Simultaneously, I stood inundated in the insight and intelligence of nature. As I sat still, the fertile flow of creativity saturated my spirit. Tears of recognition and relief ran over my cheeks. We are never quite ready, but we are courageous and adventuresome. Standing in our stillness, our inner peace, we openly observe natural systems, actively engage our ecological knowledge, and courageously cultivate our purposeful and powerful relationship with nature, recognizing nature’s role in our own lives when we listen.