No. 20 On stillness

Summer is officially here. The days are warm, and the nights are beautiful with lingering sunsets. The activities we enjoy more during summer on the coast—like beach combing, kayaking, paddleboarding, camping, and hiking—bring us closer to nature. It also marks the beginning of market season and the joyful disruption of teenagers in the house most of the day. Because of this, I am trying to be more mindful and bring in some stillness. Perhaps you don't experience this busyness (tell me your secrets!), but I would guess there are still a few opportunities to bring greater stillness into your life. Why, you ask? Well, let me convince you, dear reader.


There is a special stillness to summer weekend mornings in the hours between sunrise and mid-morning. Typically, my teenagers are still sleeping, and my husband has gone off to golf, leaving me to move about in the stillness of the house. I set about opening all the windows and doors to the cool morning air, letting it move through before the heat builds. Outside, the neighborhood is still quiet, the leaves of the willow trees perfectly still, and only the bees and hummingbirds seem to have started their day. With a cup of tea, I can sit and embrace the serenity of the morning. I am always happy to have these moments of calm to carry with me throughout the day.

Do you have a similar moment of the day that carries deep stillness for you? If you are thinking, "There is no way my life has any stillness right now!" or even if you only want to enhance the stillness that already exists, I recommend spending a little time listening to the talk by Eckhart Tolle on the subtleties of what happens when we become more present. He spotlights the importance of the present moment and how even just observing the stillness between words can be an avenue to becoming more present. He encourages us to give up waiting for the next moment and to become very aware of the silent spaces because "every time you are aware of the silent space, your mind becomes still and silent."


OK, let's take a poll (not actually, just mentally): who feels busy? Perhaps not at this very moment—hopefully, you are relaxed and enjoying a luxuriously still morning with a beautiful cup of tea—but in the last week? Month? If I had to bet a cup of tea on it, I'd say more than half of you (us) have checked the 'yes' box. We seem to have a culture that places value on being busy; or, perhaps it's just our ego—"Oh, I'm so busy, I must be important!" Think about it, who answers your question about how things are going with "Oh, I'm excellent, I have such complete stillness throughout my day!" I, for one, have never heard this. Why, in the words of my wise yoga philosophy teacher Shastri, do you (we) make yourself (ourselves) so busy? At the time, his question blew my mind with the realization that I was confusing busyness with perseverance. Moving forward with a goal can absolutely be done alongside stillness; it should be, I would argue, so that we have enough awareness to see when opportunities come our way and where the path will be better taken. So let's make a pact to tip the scales away from busy and toward stillness. Next time we meet, I look forward to hearing how still your days have become.


I have fallen in love with yoga teaching all over again. Even more, I adore closing my classes with a tea meditation. My favorite part is seeing the absolute calm and well-being in everyone's eyes at the end of the meditations. This is absolute evidence to me that tea and stillness are perfect partners. The beauty is that such practice is available to us all, any time. Simply grab your cup and really be aware of each small action, pausing in stillness to observe the sensations. This is also a great way to explore a tea for the first time! Which teas haven't you tried yet? I spent some quality time with our Avocado Glow Sencha this past week, steeping multiple infusions and getting lost in the aromas, tastes, and flavors. Give it a go or just grab your go-to. Pause and let the tea and stillness center you and cast you into a space of absolute well-being.

One more thing...

"Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen - that stillness becomes a radiance." - Morgan Freeman

Until next time,
Steep Calm.


No. 20 On stillness
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