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.
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