DaVita Stories

Experiencing Stillness, Wonder, and Grace

This post was originally published on the Family Talk Blog Nov. 22, 2017. It was republished with permission, on DaVita Stories.

Our lives are so crazy busy, like a stream roaring down a mountain in the Spring. Our days overflow with work, school, kid stuff, laundry, cooking, cleaning—and everything else. Somehow, our time-saving technology has turned into a time-sucking pastime. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, email, apps, texting—they steal our minutes like a thief in the night.

This busyness can become addicting. We don’t know what to do with ourselves when we have nothing to do. We’ve lost our ability to enjoy doing nothing—just staring out the window watching the grass grow. Or listening to the birds sing. Or watching the Washington sky change from moment to moment. Or savoring the sound of rain on the roof.

In this hectic life, we are ahead of ourselves, anticipating the next thing we have to do. We wait for the next text. We live in the future.

This hustle and bustle can keep us from experiencing stillness, wonder, and grace. It prevents us from being aware of our moment to moment experience. Its future orientation cultivates impatience with the here and now.

How can we recapture wonder and grace? How can we become more patient? How can we cultivate stillness, even when we are in motion?

Stop, listen and look.

Right now—stop reading. Close your eyes. Take a long slow deep breath. Listen. What do you hear? Perhaps you hear the clock ticking, the dishwasher running, cars on the street, or the sound of rain on the windows. Now you are in this moment. And in this twinkling, you are not thinking about what’s next.

Next time when you are walking from your car to work, stop, breathe, and look around you. What do you see? Are there trees? Birds? Plants? Take a minute to look around and experience the wonder of the natural world. We live in a beautiful place! Don’t take it for granted.

Sensation.

Stop what you are doing. Feel the sensation of the clothing against your skin. Feel the sensations in your jaw, your eyes, your shoulders, and your neck. Sense the chair or couch against your body. Become aware of the sensations of your body. Now you are in the here and now. These are not sensations you felt yesterday or will feel tomorrow.

Stillness.

Breathe into your belly. Breathe into your feet. Breathe into the earth. Breath out into the sky. Take a moment to pause in between your activity. Rest. Take a moment of stillness. Experience quiet. Experience grace.

Gratitude.

Consider all that you appreciate. Focus on your blessings. What is good in your life? What do you feel grateful for? Who makes your life better? Who loves you—friends, family, significant other?

Patience.

To be patient, rather than trying to be patient, is to experience this moment in its fullness. There is no need to rush, to hurry, or to plan. Not in this instant. Rather, just wait quietly, without anticipation of the next thing on your agenda. What’s the rush? Tomorrow will come at its appointed time. You will arrive wherever you are going when you get there. Let go of the desire to be somewhere other than where you are.

Now is the perfect time to be.

Dr. Paul Schoenfeld

Dr. Paul Schoenfeld

Dr. Paul Schoenfeld is a clinical psychologist with The Everett Clinic, a DaVita Medical Group, and the Director of The Everett Clinic’s Center for Behavioral Health. He specializes in working with children, families and adults. In his spare time, he’s a second degree black belt in Aikido (a peaceful martial art) and teaches aikido to children in Seattle. In addition (like many Pacific Northwesterners) he likes to hike, bike, and play in the sun (and rain).