The Stillness of Personal Growth
You may be familiar with our society’s philosophy that, in order to develop as a person and get healthier, we must always be on the go. Whether that is studying, working in a full time job, or exercising for hours at the gym, the common mantra is to just keep moving.
But what if that advice wasn’t true. What if there was more to gain if we just slowed down, or even stood or sat still altogether?
The thing is, it is a myth that we human must always be on the move in order to gain any benefit.
In fact, there is much to be said for the times where we have to spend just being, exploring our minds, expressing our creativity, and remaining completely sedentary - even if that means lying down on the sofa in your pyjamas and not going out of the house all day.
This may sound quite controversial, but let me put this into a bit of perspective.
Think for a moment, of a beautiful butterfly. How did it transform into that magnificent creature, able to fly and radiate its uniquely mesmerising colour from flower to flower? Well, after doing a fare bit of eating and nourishing its physical body as an innocently young caterpillar, it cocooned itself entirely - remaining completely sedentary for several days or even weeks.
To the onlooking world, it looked as though the caterpillar was hiding away from the harsh reality outside of its protective layers. What a cowards!
But, in reality, that caterpillar was undergoing a magical transformation. A transformation so complex and deeply mystifying that it still remains as one of the world’s most intriguing wonders.
As the days pass, the caterpillar seems to remain so calm and still, yet on the inside, there is a complexity going on that far exceeds our human understanding of life.
We humans can learn a valuable lesson from any butterfly. Just by sitting, thinking and making time to just be - not working ourselves into the ground or trying to attain some unforeseeable goal - our body’s and minds are still transforming, recalibrating and beginning to make understanding of our lives and life itself. Our inner workings are able to recharge, create new developmental pathways and even find ways to help us live our life purpose - placing us back in tune with what we really want out of life and how we can best go about attaining that for the good of ourselves, the human race and the planet alike.
Often, moments of deep connection and understanding about our lives and our world happen when we are just being, silently creating, sitting or even eating. We might not be doing anything physically strenuous, but inside we are transforming into the beings who we will be tomorrow, the day after and the many years to come.
Our body’s are not useless because we are not always moving them. Rather, the less we try to excessively make them work harder on a physical level, the less energy we have to make those all important internal transformations that make us who we are.
Unfortunately it took me many years to realise this. I was often the person on doing doing doing mode, where any time to sit back, be and relax felt like a waste of time (as well as a less opportunities to burn Calories and lose weight I didn’t need to lose …).
But, when I began to honour my needs to just be, I was able to notice what I really wanted out of life. Unlike what I had originally thought and had in mind while doing doing doing, I actually didn’t want a hugely successful job, highly paid salary or the best academic grades possible.
In actuality, the things I really wanted and needed was self-care, social connection, time for creativity and enjoying the ‘small things’ in life like my friends, family and being able to travel to my favourite cafes.
When you take time to be, you can notice similar things too - things that might just knock your socks off, or even place you on track for following your REAL dreams (rather than the dreams society makes us want to pursue).
To summarise this little piece on growing when we are still, I would like you to know that it is completely ok to just be. Be with yourself from time to time, and try to switch gears from 100 miles an hour to maybe just 20 - or even 0.
Staying sedentary is nothing to feel guilty about, or as though it is a waste of time. It is an opportunity. An opportunity for transformation, unlimited growth, and allowing you to become that awesome person who is just waiting to break out of its cocoon into a magnificent butterfly.
By simply learning to be, you will be free to become who you were born to be.