Stillness & Gratitude.

Oct 18.PNGI’ve been thinking about and practicing stillness this month, attempting to manifest the physical sensations of the emotional state I currently find myself in. For the last two and a half years since I graduated college, our world has been in constant flux. We moved to Atlanta, we traveled to New England and North Carolina to visit my family at the holidays. And then Aaron’s family moved to Texas, and our travels expanded a bit. The push and pull of our day-to-day kept us from creating a rhythm in our old world.

When we moved to Pittsburgh, the transition initially brought more chaos, but the aftermath has been amazingly peaceful. Instead of waiting for our next big move, transition or trip, we’re just basking in this stillness.

I don’t have a lot of practice in being still. My family moved frequently when I was little, and even when we were still for several years, it seemed every few months was a new major life event: Liz went to college, we got another dog, mom and dad split up. So when things are still, I tend to wait for the next major transition as if I’m anticipating the other shoe will drop. I’ve found that if I focus on moving forward, in a direction I choose, then I avoid the mystery and chaos of the world deciding for me. So I tend to avoid stillness, and I create motion unnecessarily. This time, though, I’m choosing to embrace the stillness and find comfort in it.

I’ve been writing and focusing my attention towards gratitude rather than on the next step. Life feels linear, at least I was taught to view life that way. You go to high school, you graduate, you go to college, you graduate, you find a job, you you settle down….and all of those things have happened, all of those have presented themselves. Lately, though, we are paused. Initially I had a lot of discomfort in the stillness…waiting for the next milestone. Now, I’m leaning into it and looking for happiness and contentment in all of our little realities.

On Sunday, I woke up and went to Goddess Yoga at Inhale Pittsburgh, a sweet little studio downtown. When I got home, Aaron was preparing for afternoon football. I puttered, snuggled with him, grocery shopped, cooked and just enjoyed our life. Money is tight, and it would be really easy to dwell on how challenging things are, rather than just enjoying the happiness that surrounds us. It would be easy to focus on the things we can’t have or can’t do, but instead I choose to bathe in the things we do have, in the things we can do.

I spend a lot of time in my home studio on the weekends. I typically start my Saturdays there, groggy with a warm cup of coffee. It’s my space, my time, my quiet. I light a candle (or 5) and I enjoy being in charge of how I spend that morning. I have no agenda, no checklist. I read, I surf the internet for inspiration and entertainment. Sometimes I FaceTime loved ones. I almost always practice yoga, and spend 10-20 minutes meditating. These uninterrupted mornings usually end with me rolling around the floor of the studio with the dogs…snuggle, wrestle and wkae up for the rest of our weekend.

This stillness, this existence that requires so little effort and simply to be content, it is foreign to me. This kind of security is what most people long for, and here I am, unsure how to welcome it into my life. I’ve found that writing down and writing about the parts of my life that feel the most spectacular, the most balanced, the most loving, it helps me connect to my gratitude and translate it into my actions. I am incredible grateful for Aaron, his support both emotionally and financially, and the balance of the life we lead together. I feel as though we are heading in the same direction, we are on the same page and hoping for the same things in the years to come. For that kind of partnership, I am forever grateful.

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