Everyday through December 25th, I’ll be making a 5×5 inch collage, writing a short entry on this blog and sharing a prompt for those who might want to participate along with me. You can follow my progress by subscribing to this blog through the sidebar on the blog homepage, or by following me on Instagram.
I have a hard time sitting still.
When I discovered running and biking in my teens and early twenties and realized that daily physical exertion helped keep me focused, I was then able to stay still when needed, mostly. Pair sitting, after physical exercise, with making (drawing, collage, typesetting, printing, knitting–at least versions of these that do not require decision making) and I am able to stay focused and happy for hours.
Yet valuing sitting still and being present alluded me. In 2015, I moved through a health crisis that forced stillness into my life. As I moved through the diagnosis and treatment, I craved stillness, silence and solitude in ways unknown to me. I ached for and had to become comfortable with less. Less movement, less work, less running around.
Crave: covet, cry out for, fancy, lust after, dream, need, want, ache for, hunger for, long for, thirst for, desire intensely.
I am better at sitting still these days. (I’m not sure my husband would agree.) I also know that it is available to me anywhere and everywhere, even in those moments, especially in those moments, when it feels so illusive.
I have a student with autism in one of my classes. She struggles with being overwhelmed and often bursts out in class with complaints about how she can’t do something. This week she expressed her frustration with the “push” of the end of the semester. So I asked the entire class, “who feels the frustration that Rita* feels,” and nearly everyone raised their hand. Normalizing the feeling helped everyone. And then we took a moment to brainstorm what one can do to help self-soothe through these emotions, including a couple of minutes of being still, noticing our breath and emptying our minds of thought. The atmosphere in the room shifted noticeably, thanks to that moment of delight in sitting.
*not her real name.
Contrast a very colorful image with a black and white image. Use one as the background and the other as the foreground.