Today, I’m pleased to welcome longtime friend and author Barbara Techel. When I read a pre-release copy of Barbara’s newest book, Wisdom Found In the Pause: Joie’s Gift, a few weeks ago I found myself nodding in agreement, remembering moments on my own journey to stillness, and affirming choices I made along the way. While some of our tools may be different, Barbara and I share an appreciation for the value of stepping away from a constant state of doing into stillness. Please join me in welcoming her as she discusses the sweet stillness of being.
Busyness has become a badge of honor many wear. I raise my hand and confess that my being busy made me feel important and that I mattered.
It seems that we’ve come to define ourselves by our achievements and the material things we accumulate. But yet, so many seem unhappy.
My learning to be in awareness of the value of being rather than doing has been a gradual process which began over ten years ago. It’s still something I must continually remind myself of and put into a daily practice. It’s so easy to be pulled back into busyness when it is what our culture seems to reward.
You might be wondering, what does being looks like? But I say it’s more about feeling. Because we seem to have numbed ourselves with doing and accomplishing, we’ve lost our ability to know what truly feels good for our soul.
It wants to be heard. It wants to be happy. It is trying everything it knows to get our attention. And so it’s been with me in a variety of ways over many years now as I continue to evolve in my understanding the value of learning to be in stillness more often.
It was the death of two dogs, Frankie and then Joie, within nine months of each other, and what felt like I’d lost my sense of purpose that I knew I had nothing to lose by taking a two month sabbatical.
While there was this intense push to do so, my mind tried everything in its power to talk me out of it. How could I walk away from everything I’d worked so hard to build? What would others think? Who did I think I was taking time away? All those questions weighed heavily on me.
But when I faced the truth, there was this hollow pit of emptiness inside me. I had nothing else to give. While that was difficult for me to understand, I felt the only way to find a way back to myself again, was to really learn to be in a space of stillness for a time.
There was a hint of fall in the air being it was the beginning of September when I walked away from the public writing I’d been doing and all social media avenues I used in working hard to make a name for myself.
I decided I would journal each day of my sabbatical just for me to hopefully uncover where it was I wanted to go next with my life.
I’m sure it sounds lovely to just stop working and I know many others ache to do this. But I must be honest and tell you the first two weeks I wanted to jump right out of my skin! I’d gotten so caught up in going, going, going on this fast treadmill that stopping cold turkey was very uncomfortable. And while I knew I had been shoving down the whispers in my heart, too afraid to deal with them, it was now time for me to really listen.
Journaling, returning to books that have been helpful guides in the past such as The Second Journey by Joan Anderson, and picking a Grace card by Cheryl Richardson each day were my tools to going inward that eventually led me to the sweet stillness of being.
My journal provided me a safe place to let my scattered thoughts run amuck, eventually providing more clarity of what mattered to me as the weeks went by. Books I’d read before about others learning to step back and re-evaluate were like sitting down with old friends who had sailed on this voyage before. And the Grace cards, well; those were spiritual signposts of synchronicity that often had me in awe.
What felt very awkward at the beginning, my frazzled nerves and tired soul eventually began to fill with renewed hope and a more rooted sense of peace. It was during this time that I came to understand how important it is to have a daily practice that keeps us grounded and reminds us that pausing in stillness is where wisdom is found.
For me it is yoga, meditation, oracle cards, writing, and being awareness of the teachings from animals, that keep my thoughts in check and help me return to that blissful state of just being. And by doing so, it opens a place inside me that deeply appreciates and values the beauty in nature and in animals, that serve as daily reminders and guides to what the sweet stillness of being is truly all about.
To connect with Barbara visit her website, joyfulpaws.com.
Find her active on these social media avenues:
I’ve just recently become friends with Barbara and now I see that she’s your long-time friend. My circle widens!
For the last seven months my life has been topsy-turvy with lots of noise because of our move – buying one house and clearing out and selling the homestead where we’ve lived for 37 years. Right now, waiting on bank appraisal . . .
Our internet has been out for 3 days and the TV doesn’t work either. I’m able to get online at my daughter’s house, but TV has less and less appeal – except for PBS, noisy, crude and a time-waster. I often sit and stare at the ducks on the lake from our lanai, a supreme blessing from the move and an oasis of calm in the hubbub. Solitude is my friend.
Pilates offers physical release and my faith is a stabilizer. Yes, Barbara, there’s wisdom in the pause. (Love the pun on paws!) Thanks, Linda, for featuring her today.
My circle widens too with like-minded souls, which is so rewarding!
I love what you said here: “I often sit and stare at the ducks on the lake from our lanai, a supreme blessing from the move and an oasis of calm in the hubbub. Solitude is my friend.”
There are so many afraid to be alone – but it’s different being alone when one chooses, such as you do and I’ve done. And I really do believe it is essential so we can hear our true thoughts and get to what matters to us.
Glad you like the catch on “pause” and “paws.” It’s how it all began over ten years ago, writing about the dogs in my life and the human-animal bond, which brought me much joy, so hence yes, it was a play on words when a friend suggested Joyful Paws for my website/blog.
Take good care,
What great timing for me to read your story. Thank you. After eight years of retirement and a move, I find I’m still looking wondering asking what is my purpose, and so I stay in a state of constant motion seeking answers. Only recently have I begun to sit down and contemplate stillness. Your words ring true.
Warms my heart to know my words ring true for you, Letty. I think sometimes we think purpose has to be this big thing and outside of us — when in fact it is inside us — a place we need to nurture because when we do it brings us peace and as I’ve often said, I believe that in doing so that peace we find with ourselves automatically vibrates out into the world.
Take good care,
Hi Barbara. What a lovely article. So often we are caught up in our busyness, we don’t take the time to take care of ourselves. I work full time, go to classes, study, do for others, write, blog (yeah, well, not much lately, but I’m working on that again), take care of family needs… People wonder, I think, why I am happy to spend so much time alone – it’s for the quiet! While I love to socialize, I do so love my alone time. I do not have a pet, but right now I don’t feel it’s a good idea to have a pet that I’d need to leave alone so often. Blessings to you.
Hi Karen, Thank you so much for your kind note. Blessings to you also and thanks for stopping by!