“If you will be still during the storm, you will find the strength to ride out the storm.”
are were my least favorite words. I wasn’t born to be still. I like to be in motion, constantly doing something. Even when I’m sitting still, I have to be doing something. It doesn’t matter what- doodling, humming, playing with my phone- so long as I’m moving. I’d prefer to walk a few blocks between subway stations than stand still and wait for the train. So when the storms of life are blowing all around me, the last thing I want to do is be still.
My best friend usually would drive me insane by telling me to “relax”. My question always was, “How could you relax? Can’t you see everything is falling to pieces? Why aren’t you doing something????” During times of distress I always felt that it was my obligation to do something even if that something was only worry. It was no surprise then that I became an adult with depression and anxiety issues. I’d trained myself to be an obsessive worrier, always anxious, always calculating, always concerned, hyper-vigilant, high strung, very intense. In some areas of my life that turned out to be a strength of mine- I am very analytical with keen clinical judgement, and prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to dealing with my clients and their day-to-day affairs and mental health. On a personal note, however, I was constantly stressed out, and stressed out the people around me, pushed people away and was constantly living in a state of near crisis.
There’s a saying that goes something like, “Worry is like a rocking chair. There’s lots’ of motion but you’re going nowhere.” That was me. Lots of motion, but going nowhere. And then my friend would say, “Relax”, and I would pitch an even bigger fit. I couldn’t relax. I just wouldn’t.
During the storm, Pi reaches a moment of understanding in the middle of the second storm when the sees how his reaction to the storm is affecting Richard Parker. After having tried to remove the canvas covering to expose Richard to the awe and might of god, he realizes that Richard is terrified, and seeks cover with him beneath the canvas instead. There, they both lie in wait for the storm to pass, and though the wait is rough, as they are tossed back and forth like rag-dolls, they ultimately are kept safe within the confines of the lifeboat and live to fight another day. While looking at this, I wonder how much easier this transition may have been for them both if Pi had sought this action first, covering the boat and lashing it down securely, and lying still beneath the shelter of the canvas for the duration of the storm, instead of allowing the boat to take on water and scaring the tiger half to death before realizing that he’d already had what he needed to be safe and that all that was required of him in this moment was for him to be still?
And so it is with us during times of chaos and trial in our lives. So many times we use up all our energy in the midst of a storm fighting, cussing, crying, blaming, using up all our resources looking for other resources, or trying to get other people to take responsibility for our storm for us thinking that these things will make the storm go away when in truth, all we need to see is that everything we need has already been given to us, and that we already have what it takes to withstand the storm, and to come out stronger than ever, if we would just be still. If we would just…
“Relax”, I have come to learn, doesn’t mean “forget” or ‘let go”; it doesn’t mean “be lazy” or “neglect your responsibility”. It certainly doesn’t mean “I don’t care”. Relax in this context means “allow”. Allow the storm. Just allow it. See it, notice it, adjust your sails, lash your boat down, then be still and allow it in full faith that you will come out on the other side and you will be fine. Not only fine, but you will be better than you were before. The storms of life are meant to strengthen us, to show us things inside and around us that we hadn’t noticed before, to awaken the skills that are dormant within us so that we can persevere through the next thing. If we’re busy flailing and screaming and fighting the universe, we are not receiving the lessons we are being taught and the gifts we are being given.
If we are rejecting the universe, we will manifest lack.
If we are operating out of fear, we will generate struggle.
BUT, if we allow it, if we operate out of faith knowing that the universe is collaborating with us for our highest good, even in the midst of the storm, we will find the strength to ride out the storm.This takes a certain amount of personal discipline to develop, but over time, if we will practice being still we will find that we are able to weather the storms of life with better and better outcomes. This is the secret to success. Successful people aren’t people who have never encountered personal storms, but those who found the inner strength to withstand multiple storms, and have come out on the other side stronger, faster, healthier, wiser, better than they were before.
Do you believe the universe is working with you to bring your dreams to pass?
it’s not enough to have faith when the sun shines, only to abandon all hope when the storm clouds roll in! The way we demonstrate that we believe what we say we believe is by learning to be still. This means no worrying- no complaining, no going out of our way to find solutions by resorting to actions that violate our personal sense of integrity. Of course we remain diligent and work toward an end by doing what we said we would do- we get up and go to work every day, we care for our families and loved ones, we continue to take steps toward self-care. We listen to our intuition and remain faithful to the call we have accepted in our lives. And we allow the storm to pass- no push back, no struggle, no fear. Because we KNOW that the universe has our best interest at heart; we know that we will be taken care of. And it is this kind of faith, and this ability to rest that will take us through to the other side.
How do you practice being still?
I meditate every morning before I get out of bed to make sure that my thoughts for the day are aligned with an attitude of faith and strength. I am mindful of my thoughts during the day and when I find myself becoming anxious or using language that is not reflective of a relaxed, faithful attitude, I adjust my speech and remind myself that the universe is working in my favor. I stay away from people, places and things that are negative or that influence me to think negatively. I inspire myself to remain excited about my future despite the way things may seem in the present. I no longer allow myself to worry or be anxious about circumstances and situations over which I have no control.
If you struggle with depression or anxiety, talk with someone about ways to manage it. Try any of the things listed above and let me know if it works for you. If you do something different, I’d love to know about it- I’m always looking for new ways to try to keep myself on track. Let’s trade notes. 🙂
Relax and Be Still.