Practicing Stillness

“Everything that’s created comes out of silence. Your thoughts emerge from the nothingness of silence. Your words come out of this void. Your very essence emerged from emptiness. All creativity requires some stillness.”

~Wayne Dyer

 

 

As September arrives, I feel a little melancholy watching summer fade.  Temps get cooler, migrating animals have left or are getting ready to leave.  And the colors shift in the garden…..trees and plants start to sport tinges of yellow and red.  And I know soon enough all here will be covered in nature’s blanket of white.  I can’t help but feel a bit sad.

But with all the changes the shift in seasons brings, the most startling of all for me is the stillness of nature.  There are few sounds remaining from the frenzy of the start of spring and the busyness of summer.  Hardly a bird singing or a frog croaking.  All I hear is the rush of the pond’s waterfall….such a soothing sound in the rushing water.

 

 

The Healing Properties of the Stillness

And with this stillness of nature, the silence around me, I feel refreshed.  It’s as if nature is reminding me it is time to slow down and relax a bit….drink in the bliss the stillness brings.  And what a contrast from my days of laboring in a teaching job, when this time of year signaled coming back to busyness….a ramping up of the workload.  Secretly I had always longed to luxuriate in the relaxation of late summer/early fall where even the trees were letting go.  Wishing as I was starting work, that I could breath in the stillness of nature and just be.

The stillness that envelopes me in my garden, that I connect to now, is the Universal flow.  And I have learned that as I meld with that flow and allow it to unfold, my path, my life, will be easier.  I will connect more with my bliss in this flow.  Unlike all the times I resisted the flow and ended up a bit more bruised than I would have liked.

 

 

How To Heal In The Stillness

One of the most wonderful things about silence is its healing properties.  Have you ever longed to shut out the noises all around you.  Even nature’s music can be noise when mixed with the drone of the engines and noises of our modern life.  There is a balancing my body goes through in this silence…a peace and solace that descends upon me.  A deep healing on a molecular level.

It is important to have time in stillness…to slow down to recharge ourselves.  And I have found a few things that help me, even when the busyness of life is all about me:

 

  • Taking time out several times a day to just stare out at the beauty of nature
  • Doing nothing, and allowing that time to increase from one minute to 5.  This is hard for so many of us as we move through our busy lives without thinking about what we are doing.
  • Trying every day to be outside, to feel nature about me, even in the rush of a busy street.  Noticing the sky, the clouds, plants, feeling the sun or cool wind on my skin.
  • Walking on the bare ground to feel my feet on the earth.  This is called grounding, and it has an amazing effect on me.
  • Deep, slow breathing.  Breath in for 10 and out for 10…and do this 10 times.  It slows my anxiety level right down.
  • And of course finding times in silence.  Sometimes when it is quiet at home, I read or wander in the garden pulling weeds or capturing scenes with my camera.  Even just watching a bee can be so soothing.

 

 

How do you slow down and practice stillness?  What works for you?

 

 


 

Stillness In A Vase

 

The garden can fade quickly, but in our warm September days flowers are lasting longer.  The native meadows are especially glowing with golden blooms bringing me solace to see them swaying.  I love these sunny yellows in my meadow and garden, and picked several for a vase.  These all volunteer in my back garden with abandon.

 

 

This vase is filled with late summer native plants:  Northern Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) and Goldenrod (Solidago).  I have profiled some of these on this blog in the past.  You can find them listed on my new Favorite Native Plants page listing native plants that I have profiled that grow in my garden.  You can see it at the top of the blog or on the side bar.  I will continue to add to the list as I profile more native plants growing in my garden.

 

I am joining Cathy@Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful In A Vase on Monday meme. The pictures shared here were created with my iPod Touch camera and two free apps, Pixlr and Prisma

I am posting poetry, almost weekly on Sundays, on my other blog, Living From Happiness.  You can read my latest poem here.

 

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2017.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

38 comments

  1. Cathy says:

    Wonderful post, Donna, and I do hope that more people will take on board your suggestions about finding stillness. My moments of stillness are invariably in the garden, pausing on my rambles or distracted by a spider’s web or new bloom. Sadly though, I very rarely make the time to meditate or do my Tai Chi outside – almost as if I am saving them to treat myself later, but later always seems to involve something else. I especially love the ‘pink’ picture, but the colours and arrangement of your vase and props are delightful too. Thanks for sharing

    • Donna says:

      Thanks so much Cathy! I too have to remind myself to take time out in silence more often….I hope I do spark a few to find stillness. So glad you enjoyed the pictures and the vase….you always inspire me to look at props more.

  2. catmint says:

    Love this post, Donna. Like Cathy, stillness happens for me in the garden almost invariably. What I have learned is not to schedule too many things – pottering time is vital.

  3. Kathy says:

    Oh Donna, I so need stillness and that is why I think I love the lake so. It is still there. I can hear the beating of wings as birds fly overhead. I love that you can be still this time of year and not get back to work. It used to be such a sad time of year for me, too, but now I look forward to migration. Sometimes I do miss the stillness and blanket of winter.

  4. Laura Bloomsbury says:

    A contemplative post Donna and the images add much to the sense of quiet. It is certainly a sad time when the visitors leave us feeling somewhat bereft. I would love more silence though – London is never still so I have to go inwards – and wish that my thoughts would migrate.

    • Donna says:

      I have always wondered how anyone found stillness in an urban environment, but I imagine it has to be achieved inward or by visiting the country. I am pleased you enjoyed the post Laura!

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    Autumn is a time for drawing in, preparing for stillness, dormancy, hibernation. We’re part of that natural cycle, not separate from it, but it isn’t hard to understand your wistfulness. Summer is so vibrant and alive, and our winters are SO LONG. I hear the geese overhead and my heart yearns to follow!
    I’m liking your painterly photos. I’m voting for the first and last to be made into cards. 🙂

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Eliza. I agree Autumn is a time for stillness. You describe it beautifully. I will take your vote into consideration as I am still thinking about cards.

  6. Kris P says:

    Last week, during a power outage affecting a large part of the surrounding area, I experienced the wonder of stillness first hand. While my brain usually tunes out much of the noise produced by my suburban environment and the busy harbor below us (or so I thought anyway), I found the sudden silence very calming. My ears tuned into the subtler sounds of nature, like the wind blowing through the trees, which usually gets tuned out along with the man-made noise. It was wonderful!

    • Donna says:

      How lovely Kris….those power outages can have some benefit….and isn’t it amazing how calm we become…..suddenly realizing the noise of life is replaced by blissful silence.

  7. debsgarden says:

    Hi Donna, Your images are inspiring, and a perfect match for your prose. One of my favorite ways to relax is to sit in the garden, shut my eyes, breathe slowly, and concentrate on every sound I can hear. It’s amazing what sounds I can hear with my eyes shut that I otherwise would have overlooked. I try to identify each one.The stillness of my body and the withdrawal of sight somehow enhance my awareness of the garden. It is a mental activity, but very relaxing.

    • Donna says:

      Oh Deb I love this….I must give it a try…you are right that our sight keeps us from hearing many things around us as we rely too much on it. Thanks for sharing and I am pleased you enjoyed the post!

  8. Beth @ PlantPostings says:

    I do believe the images in this post are my favorites of yours. They are simply lovely! The bumbles on the flowers, the colors, the style–bravo! We are having a warm spell–so it still feels like summer. And the crickets, katydids, and other insects are still going strong out in the garden. I’m sure that will change very soon. Your advice for stillness is spot-on. 🙂

    • Donna says:

      I think I love these pictures the best too Beth….our hot spell has been going on for weeks now and very dry. We finally have summer in September. I am ready for it to change but looks like it is staying around for at least another week.

  9. Susie says:

    Donna, your native plants make a beautiful vase. I’m happy that you’re finding silence and space in your life. I’ve practiced yoga and meditation for many years (since retiring) and wished I could have known to use those tools when I was working. What a difference it might have made.

    • Donna says:

      So happy you enjoyed the vase Susie! I too wish I had known about meditation when I was working. I only discovered it about a year before I retired.

  10. Ginnie says:

    I have read this after returning from a much-needed walk along our citadel path, Donna, realizing (once again) how much I need this stillness OUTSIDE in nature. I live at home during the day without the radio or TV on and thrive on that kind of silence. But it’s Nature that I need right now. I take to heart the need to go outside every single day, no matter what…even if just to stand on the balcony and look out. Thank you for this reminder.

    • Donna says:

      I also need to be out in nature no matter the weather and sometimes it may just be for a few moments….I think it keeps us alive as much as breathing.

  11. Jason says:

    Excellent advice for all of us. I guess you could say my favorite way to practice stillness is to get wrapped up in watching the bees on the flowers.

  12. Alison says:

    I haven’t practiced enough stillness at all this year, I’ve been trying to catch up on a year of not taking care of the garden. I need to slow down more and just be out there looking and listening. My husband sits in the garden all the time but I seldom do. Thanks for the reminder to slow down.

    • Donna says:

      My pleasure Alison. I have to remind myself too. My garden has been seriously neglected for a few years now so I understand. Mine won’t get back to partially normal this year either.

  13. AlisonC says:

    I look at the clouds and the sky and breathe deeply. Also just being in the garden does it for me.
    You’ve created beautiful portraits of your flowers. How happy to have such volunteers.

  14. Karin/Southern Meadows says:

    Excellent post and reminder to slow down and breathe! I don’t know what I would do without my garden. It is my sanctuary from a very busy life. I walk my garden at least once a day and you are right, it makes us slow down and observe the everyday, magical events that are happening in nature. It requires reflection and contemplation. As one reader commented, the power outage from Irma required us to put our busy life on hold and embrace stillness. It was the upside of all the chaos caused by the storm.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks so much Karin….so glad you enjoyed the post. And I agree observing nature is a perfect time for reflection and contemplation. It is my muse for writing and life lessons. Sorry you had a rough time with Irma but glad you and your garden came out OK.

  15. Alistair says:

    Donna, think I will give your breathing regime a try. Stillness, never appreciated it more than whilst reading a book, instead of just turning the television sound down a bit, I switched it off, pure bliss.

    • Donna says:

      Alistair, I am with you about turning the TV off….it is pure bliss. I hope the breathing regime gives you some relaxed blissful stillness too!

  16. Indie says:

    Are those pictures that you took with effects added? They are works of art! Gorgeous! I honestly cannot write unless it is completely still other than the sounds of nature with no one even in the room. I’ve heard before of the benefits of going barefoot outside. Sadly with our epidemic of ticks and lymes disease, it is something I am afraid to do, though it sounds so wonderful and relaxing.

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Indie….yes I use 2 apps to process the photos to add the effects. I started using the apps back in Feb in a class and immediately fell in love with them. I love now creating these works of art. As you have shared, stillness is perfect for inspiring creativity like writing.

  17. Sara - Villa Emilia says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post, dearest Donna. It is very much needed now when in the world and in the society (and even in the family, in my case), there’s so much noise, arguing, unsolved problems, verbal violence.

    I try to enjoy the views and sounds and smells of my rather much natural environment every day. Autumn is so beautiful and inspires contemplating. In the last few years I have noticed that I enjoy darkness too. In the evening I go out and find a spot where there aren’t yard lights… and wait. Soon I start to see a little bit. Either the stars, if the sky is clear, or the darkness. 🙂 On a cloudy autumn evening, when there isn’t snow yet, it’s really dark and silent and one can imagine to hear the breathing of the Earth and her heartbeat. 🙂

    Wishing you happy autumn days! xx

    • Donna says:

      You are most welcome dear Sara! I love the idea of sitting in the dark although here it is rarely quiet at night unless it is the middle of the night. But I love to walk at night waiting for the moon or stars…enveloped in the silky darkness, and as you say so eloquently, ‘to hear the breathing of the Earth and her heartbeat.’ We will finally get autumn temps later this week….I welcome them! Happy Autumn….

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