When you come to the edge of all you know, you must believe one of two things: Either there will be ground to stand on or you will be given wings to fly.” —O.R. Melling
Stillness is not the first word I would use to describe my old lifestyle. However, a few weeks ago, my good friend Leah Caringal gave me the book “Stillness Is the Key” by Ryan Holiday. The book illustrates how beneficial it is to practice stillness in one’s life, and, so far, I am liking what I am learning.
Stillness is a state of being. It is a state of inner peace and contentment that cannot be shaken from you no matter what.
It’s a tall order that requires years of practice, discipline and patience with yourself. Simply stating that one is at peace is not the same as feeling wholly still. It takes mindful, consistent steps, and, for beginner meditators like me, it helped to practice stillness in a physical space where I could find peace and solitude, a place where I could go when the world feels like it’s caving in, a place that shields me from all of life’s toxicity, until I reach a place of stillness within myself.
Clearing my mind
After lockdown was announced, I quarantined for eight weeks with my family in Tali Beach, Batangas. Every morning, I took two- to four-hour walks, usually alone. Initially, it was hard to clear my mind of all the mental and emotional activity running through me. With time and patience, I found that I was able to stay fully in the present experience of just walking in nature—no thoughts of my prepandemic life, no postpandemic plans, just staying in the now and trying to be at peace with that.
When I look at all I have done to practice unshakeable inner peace, I realize that stillness also equates to solitude. Honoring the importance of alone time, which used to be a rarity in my life, has expanded my ability to remain calm and content in the wake of God’s trials. The ultimate goal is to attain stillness even when in a crowded room, but as a beginner I am happy with the baby steps I am taking.
Practicing yoga also promotes stillness. Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram yoga, is known to be quite direct when making comments about women’s bodies during his yoga classes. Some may find it insulting, but he maintains that it is his unique way of teaching stillness. “Don’t let anybody steal your peace” is his mantra.
Now that I am back home, I am glad to practice Bikram yoga on Zoom with Ollay Aninion of Bikram Yoga Makati. Hopefully soon we will be able to safely practice in person together. She told me that her Serenity Series in Balesin Island Club with Aegle Wellness Center was moved to October.
Stillness has also taught me the importance of reflection. Life is full of experiences, mental and physical growth, and memorable relationships—yet so much of it often passes us by without proper acknowledgement. What results is a lack of appreciation for the present moment that makes us less attuned to the beauty of life. It often takes major milestones to shake us awake and help us remember that every day is a gift to be savored, not something to be taken for granted.
The birth of a child is regarded as one of the most priceless milestones in a family. My hubby Dennis Valdes told his special friend that the last time he cried was when our eldest son Tyrone was born over 25 years ago. But for my family, my first grandchild Louie Malachi Crespo Prieto has been a source of pure joy and happiness. Born just before the virus outbreak, baby Louie continually brings us all the happy vibes we need. Even just smelling him removes all my stress and anxiety!
Another aspect of life to cherish, and one that can also bring about stillness, is our ability to make art and creatively express ourselves. Creation naturally calls for one to reach into the deepest parts of ourselves and reflect on what we are truly trying to communicate.
I am planning to buy one of the paintings of Carlo Tanseco, a well-known product and furniture designer who recently got back to his passion of painting. Titled “Juxtaposed: Between Order and Complexity,” Carlo’s first solo painting exhibition explores pattern, order, liberation and idealization. This initial foray shows a mark of matured visual identity, ripe for a full artistic career in the visual arts. (Visit artcubephilippines.com; follow @artcubeph
on Instagram.)This pandemic has taught me that we all need to stay connected. Support groups are important to generate hope and resilience in a time of stress and trauma, and to give helpful insight into the uncertain roads ahead.
My good friend and urban healer Rosan Cruz shared some information about the cosmic energies coming end of May. According to Kari Samuels, Jupiter is entering Pisces. Until July 28, Jupiter, the planet of luck, expansion and optimism, will be in the sensitive sign of Pisces. Jupiter expands everything it touches.
Pisces is the sign of intuition, dreams, sensitivity and creativity. For the next two months, the healing waters of Pisces will wash over you.
Reach for the stars and push past your perceived limitations. That’s the divine directive of Jupiter in Pisces. You’ll notice, as new dreams and visions are emerging in your consciousness, you have to clear your emotional clutter.
Eclipse season is upon us.
Our lunar eclipse is on May 26, yet the impact of the tides of change can be felt even now. Eclipses bring culminations of karmic energies. You may be confronted with aspects of your life you’d rather not deal with. Yet in order for your dreams to take shape, it is essential for you to process your old wounds. Focus on what you are becoming, rather than what has held you back. Joyful opportunities await you!
In order to fully open ourselves to these opportunities, it is important to develop a clearer sense of the bigger picture through stillness and meditation. In stillness we can be fully present and finally see the truth. In stillness, we make space for gratitude and wonder. In stillness, we hear the voice inside us, empowering us to reach our full potential. INQ