Learning to be still.

Stillness, it is a beautiful thing. Stillness is a rare gem in a world where noise and busyness and manic have incredible value. I have however grown to love quiet, calm moments.

During the years when pain engulfed me I had no choice but to often be physically still. My body simply couldn’t keep up with the rush of life running past me and so I often felt left behind. Yet even though I had to sit, or lie, or sleep I hadn’t met the joy of stillness. At that time, when my pain was paralyzing, I was still fighting. I was hurt and angry and confused. I’m thankful those days are long gone, yet even if they resurface I know I will be able to find beautiful joy in stillness.

Life has a way of swirling past you whether you’re ready to keep up or not. Time simply can’t be contained, held onto and used up later when we feel we’re ready. It’s our most precious commodity, yet the ‘Time stock market’ is a thing of fantasy. We are only allotted a certain amount of it and because of this we all want to fill it to the brim or we feel that it may be wasted.

We rush, we overload our calendars with work, social outings, sightseeing, errands, projects, dinners, hobbies, cleaning, cooking, the list goes on and on. There is no end to the ways we make the most of our time and that is a wonderful thing…mostly. When the lights go off and we snuggle down under our doona’s for the night, our heads sink into the pillow and our muscles relax, it is often only then in those precious few fleeting moments before sleep passes over that many of us finally experience stillness.

There is great beauty in the quiet, still moments. Time to breath, time to gather your thoughts, precious moments in time to ponder and wonder and imagine. Yet these little pockets of time aren’t as highly esteemed among us as I wish they were. We honor the busy and rushed, the full schedules and hectic days. We feel accomplished when we can tick off endless lists and look at all we’ve achieved and while this can be wonderful and it’s how stuff gets done, sometimes we just need to stop and remember to breath.

I have chosen to take a slight detour, to get out of the rush and the busy and to pull over to get some fresh air. To move over to the viewing platform, get out of the race for a moment and look out at the horizon. While I’m there I can breath in the clean crisp air, feel the cool breeze on my skin, wrap my cardigan around me and hear God’s voice in the calmness. The rush can wait, later on, in twenty minutes or so, it will still be there. Whizzing by, sucking up the precious seconds and preoccupying me with chores and work and social gatherings and phone calls and shopping and lists and… and… and……

It is in those oft forgotten quiet moments where we not only hear our own thoughts without the constant din surrounding us, we sometimes also hear the still small voice of the LORD whispering ever so quietly. Those moments where we allow ourselves to watch as sunlight dances through the window, or lie down in the soft green grass, or take the time to wind down and quietly observe, we can find great peace if we’ll only allow ourselves that opportunity.

I used to be terrible at being still, at being present in the moment and appreciating today. I was always looking far ahead towards an uncertain future or holding onto or running away from the past but now I’m content in the now. There is so much beauty in every moment that even if we’re rushed and busy and consumed with never ending matters of importance there are those tiny and precious details that we usually don’t even see. They are there, unassuming, almost hidden and yet in plain sight. Whatever small elements of your day that you wish you observed more astutely, take a moment and enjoy them. We need not feel guilty for those small pleasures.

It took years for me to discover the beauty in stillness. If given half a chance I will steal away some time and enjoy a hot coffee while curled up on the couch with a good book in hand. No need to rush, no need to run around, to just stop and relax, unashamed and permission given to enjoy, is true freedom. There is in fact a movement dedicated to the slow; slow food, natural gardening, back to basics, enjoying the now. Throwing off the fast paced, chaotic and often synthetic and appreciating the authentic and shabby imperfect perfection of stillness. The sweet spot for me is balanced delicately between the modern and the rustic, the natural and the tech savvy. It is here that I’ve found my quiet space in a bustling city, my wholesome in the hectic.

I have found that these moments are healing; warming, calming, peaceful for body, mind and soul. My symptoms used to flare up when I was stressed, when life’s problems couldn’t be contained, my symptoms would inevitably worsen. The pain led to stress, the stress to more pain. The cycle was endless. Since healing from the worst of my condition I avoid stress where I can. Eating nourishing food, drinking pure water and learning to enjoy the present has led to more healing within.

This beauty of the quiet, an appreciation of the slow, brings with it blessings of calm, a slowing of the pulse and a simple peace. Life doesn’t stop in these moments, however my ability to better manage it’s complexities is profoundly effected. When I return to the day and the endless tasks set before me I’m able to focus more attentively, I’m more organized and I’m able to ‘achieve’ more. It’s as if my thoughts become more ordered and effortless. When I slow down, I remember to pray, contentment is natural and my days feel more meaningful.

I’m thankful I discovered the pleasure of stillness, the joy of the calm. I don’t have to worry that life will pass me by. It is still there, in the fast lane, rushing past. In twenty minutes or so the tasks won’t have vanished, the day will still be, everything will get done in due time. Yet wherever possible I’ll be happily observing, quietly contemplating and silently enjoying the beauty of stillness.

‘And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.’

1 Kings 19:11–12

If you would like to discover ways to enjoy the blessings in quiet still moments check back for regular posts.


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