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One of my many interests, as well as convictions, relates to the importance of stillness, of contemplation, slowness, quiet. This month, I finished reading Brené Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, subtitled, Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are…Your Guide to a Wholehearted Life. In this book, Brené draws on qualitative research she conducted exploring topics of shame, fear, and vulnerability, as well as resilience, and the power of embracing vulnerability and imperfection. She writes about the importance of things like creativity, play and rest, meaningful work, self-compassion, authenticity, and stillness.

Yet stillness is essential. —Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits, p. 33

Although it has become virtually cliché to say, we live in an outward culture that is go-go-go. On a macro, societal level, priority and praise are given to “achievement”, the resumé of extra-curricular prowess of a generally outward, active, non-contemplative kind. Sadly, educational systems are also not immune.

If you are in a helping profession and reading this, have you heard a client (or several) share how they are afraid to stop, or how when they stop then the difficult thoughts and feelings come in, or how they don’t know how to be alone with themselves? Have you experienced this yourself?

For myself, I have both been strongly drawn to the stopping, the quiet, and the being with myself–and I have also experienced that sense sometimes of keeping busy as keeping temporarily at bay some feelings or fears or thoughts.

The thing is, in the stillness there is also the seed of potential. This may include potential for healing, growth, being present to experience what is, enhanced health, greater richness or depth. If stillness holds such amazing potential and we do not go there, then what?

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