It feels cliché to say it, but April flew by – it feels like I was just sitting down to draft last month’s post on my One Little Word. And because it’s so easy to lose track of time, I’m so happy that Carolyn hosts a group of bloggers reflecting on their words on the last Monday of each month. Without this little nudge, I’m not sure if I’d ever sit down and try to eke out an update!
As many of you know, we started painting and replacing some flooring this month. And let me tell you — I was happy that I’d already spent a quarter of the year practicing stillness. I won’t go into too many details but there was plenty of activity that triggered my own feelings of anger, insecurity, and helplessness. In the past, that combination of triggers would have me lashing out at everything in my way.
Yes – I was very angry and frustrated through most of April. But thanks to months of breathing and repeating I am still hundreds (thousands?) of times while meditating, I was somehow able to hold my tongue, pretend to be patient, and offer encouragement and support. I sank into bed every night, eternally grateful that I didn’t say exactly what I wanted to say. Every day felt like an achievement.
“Even the courageous acceptance of interior trials in utter solitude cannot altogether compensate for the work of purification accomplished in us by patience and humility in loving other men and sympathizing with their most unreasonable needs and demands.”
page 191, New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton
The excerpt above might be a little dramatic, but it paints the picture.
Embracing myself and others as they are and treating people and tasks as though they were my life’s purpose and not distractions — this is what I’m hoping I can learn through Stillness.
Simple attention. Singular focus. Unconditional love. That’s a lot to accomplish in one year, but I can always take baby steps to get there. And the month of April? It was a giant leap for me.
This month my meditation time has included about 20 minutes of reading from New Seeds of Contemplation followed by 5 minutes of meditation. I finished that book this morning (!) and will begin (again) Buddhism for Mothers and increase my meditation time to 7 minutes a day. I’m anxious to see what May brings.
Thanks for stopping by today! I can’t wait to make the rounds and see how everyone’s word showed up for them in April. I plan to be back tomorrow with a reading update — take good care!
I look forward to these posts and am so appreciative of your sharing of your journey. Patience and humility, indeed. (Does this also apply to Twitter? Asking for a friend…) 😉
Trying to be still this month HAS been very hard. Been wearing my bracelet reminder as we wait to hear about job interview, get 1/2of vaccine, have bed crumble beyond repair… And yesterday…grr…yesterday as we pulled into our spot at home there was a pop followed by hissing and telltale steam rolling out from hood. Radiator blew a hose…and one of the ones that they have to pull the engine to get to. There goes savings to move…double grrr… Be still, Bear, be still…im repeating as I wait for auto shop to open.
Turmoil is never a good thing, and turmoil that is out of my control is just the worst. Bravo to you for your successes this month – I don’t think I would have been as successful as you were! I sort of ignored my word as I charted a new path to continue with it. (read, figure out how to do this with less internal stress!)
I always find it hard to keep my calm when the physical environment around me is in disarray, so high five to you for keeping control through all the chaos!
When my environment is chaotic I struggle with keeping emotions in check. You’re certainly not alone! Good on you for your efforts.
Staying calm throughout the mess of house improvements requires epic will to stay nice to others. Well done on every moment of stillness.
“Embracing myself and others as they are and treating people and tasks as though they were my life’s purpose and not distractions…” Oh, Katie. You just named it for me. This week has felt like years. (And it’s only Wednesday.) Your words are a counter to, in all honesty, the resentment and frustration I feel as a parent this week. And I feel like I can’t make it better….only wait for it to pass. I’m reminding myself it happens this way sometimes. But there’s no stillness in it for me–instead, I threw a bunch of junk that was strewn around my van (while no one else was in it) and after that release felt a smidgen better. But yikes. So I thank you for your words on Stillness this morning. With love.
Kudos to you for maintaining composure in what sounds like a difficult month. I don’t like disorder or disorganization in my home. It is so unsettling for me. I love the idea of stillness and meditation. As an introvert, I wish more folks understood the need that some of us have for solitude.