The Gift of 30 Minutes of Stillness

I recently found myself reflecting back on a time when I was in the middle of my own life transformation. I was about 5 months into my recovery journey, which meant I was somewhere between the awful beginning and the messy middle, trying to figure out who I was, what I stood for and where I wanted to go next. It was messy and yet it was beautiful.

During this time, which was about 3 months into my now daily meditation practice, I was called to complete an exercise that moved me. An executive leader at my work, who I really respected and admired, challenged me to get quiet because she said, “You know what it is you want, Teresa.” Since I was new to meditating, being quiet and still for even 10 minutes felt like an eternity when she said that, yet I knew she was wise beyond her years and was on to something, so I did it.

I spent 30 minutes on a Saturday morning getting quiet with myself. I meditated briefly beforehand to some music on Insight Timer (my favorite free meditation app) and then sat for 30 minutes in the stillness of the morning. I noted every thought that came up and every noise that caught my attention in my journal. After capturing those thoughts and noises in my journal, I did some further journaling. In those moments of silence, I realized my biggest dreams and what was holding me back, and I also found a sense of freedom. I could exhale deeply after this exercise because I had been holding it all in for years.

Some of the thoughts that came up were lifting weights, coaching, transforming myself, bright light, speaking of some sort, deep breath, slow down, summer, a lake, jumping off a raft in the lake, acupuncture, needles in my face, a road, beautiful landscape in front of me, a pasture, and dark clouds. The actual sounds I noted over the 30 minutes were the sounds of an actual blue jay outside my window, airplane noise in the background, more cries from the blue jay outside, a train horn in the distance, and dogs barking outside.

In my journaling after this silence, I realized the following:

Lifting weights meant that I had already done the heavy lifting and didn’t need to keep searching for answers. I recalled something someone had said to me about how God was knocking and I wasn’t answering the door! I then saw coaching right after the lifting weights thought came up, which signified that this was my next move (I had been contemplating this for several months by this time ever since I was impacted by my own coach in 2016). The bright light meant I was a bright light in the darkness for others. There is hope. There is a way forward, out of the dark.

Being on the raft and jumping into the lake in the middle of a summer day signified freedom for me. I had gained my life back and so much more. The acupuncture and needles in my face signified the pain I had caused myself internally by not believing in myself and not taking action to lead to the beautiful pasture in front of me. Because of this, the dark clouds loomed over me and wouldn’t be released until I took a step forward. I will feel like a maddened train plowing forward, full stream ahead, marching towards more madness. I will blow my own gasket if I am not careful and don’t follow my gut. This reality will cause me fear. Fear because I am not following my dreams and will have nothing but regrets.

I would come out of this quiet reflection time feeling like I got to know myself more and what it is I wanted to do. I had been holding on to too many dreams and not following them. The very next week, I signed up for my second phase of coach training and completed it 3 months later. In this exercise, I began the journey I had been waiting for the perfect time to start.

From time to time, I give myself the gift of 30 minutes in the quiet stillness of a morning or evening to help me see what comes up for me and where it will lead me next. I encourage you to do the same because your truth can be discovered in 30 minutes of stillness too. If you want to further explore those dreams that came up, let’s partner together on making those dreams a reality!

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