Hello lovely people! I hope you had a restful weekend. As I mentioned in this post, I was on fall break Thursday through Sunday. Four days wasn’t a long enough time to fly back home, so I hung out on campus, which was nearly empty and oh so peaceful. I kept myself busy with school stuff during the mornings, but after about lunchtime, I gave myself plenty of time to take a break from thermochemistry and urbanization and grant proposal budgeting. Time to be still.
‘Be still’ has been my refrain for the last year or so, and it’s something I wanted to address here on the blog, for its importance in eating disorder recovery, healing your relationship with food and/or your body, and life more broadly.
Let’s get something straight: being still is not my natural state of being. Or rather, for most of my life, I’ve had to work at being still. Which sounds counterintuitive, but it’s a thing. The hurry, the hustle, the get-it-all-done-now. I often think of the opposite of being still as striving.
But it can get complicated. You can have a busy life, a busy schedule yet still be still. That means you approach the work from a place of trust. Without the inner panic voice. Not to be too abstract, but your soul can be still while you go about your day to day life. While you drive to school or work. While you write the email, make the phone call, feed the dog. Likewise, you can do nothing and still be striving. The lying awake at night thinking about the to-do list for the next day. Sitting and listening to a friend without really listening.
Inspired by this book, I wrote this in my journal over the summer (on July 23, to be exact): When my soul is still, the work is light. I didn’t write this then, but the inverse is also true: When my soul is striving, the work is heavy.
So being still doesn’t have to mean physically being still. But there are times when you need to actually rest your whole self. Eating disorder recovery is one such time. When I was in eating disorder treatment, I needed to physically rest my body. I also needed to rest from the constant bombardment of disordered thoughts that served so well to distract me from life. For me in this stage, I needed distractions and new coping mechanisms to help drown out the eating disorder voice.
But as you heal, it’s also important to be still not just physically, but mentally. Process. Think about what you’re feeling. Which leads into the next being still is important for: healing relationship with food/exercise: So maybe you’re further along in recovery, or maybe you weren’t diagnosed with an eating disorder, but still, food and your body are no friends. The struggle, the calorie counting, the nagging good food/bad food thoughts. To get to the root, to continue to heal, we need to quiet the noise. Be still.
But how? Here’s an example. You know when I talked about feeling out of control around food and that one time not too long ago that I found myself eating tons of chocolate and peanut butter? (So I eat tons of chocolate and peanut butter all the time, but this was not a pleasant experience; hence the difference.) Instead of letting the reprimanding, negative, body-bashing thoughts fill my head, I took time to be still. I sat down. Said no to the nagging thoughts telling me to swear off chocolate for the next month, or eat less at dinner. Thought about what was going on. Why I was stress eating. What I could do about whatever was causing my stress (chemistry, what else).
Maybe you do your best de-stress thinking while walking (we are the same person). Or in the shower. Or you process things by journaling. Do what helps you be still.
And lastly, for life overall: being still, being bored–you need this. I need this. It’s how you find out about yourself and others. How you enjoy the little things. Process the pain.
So take time to pray. Walk. Slowly. In flip flops, not running shoes. (Or you know, something warm since it is almost the end of October. How?) Or sit and think. For me, I’d say preferably outside because fresh air does wonders for me. Or journal. And if you’re busy or on the go, remember that you can still be still.
What are the ways you practice being still?
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking out Loud!