• Jill Bakke

A Place of Stillness – A Place of Soul

We live in a world of complexities that seems to move faster each day. No matter how fast we move nor how completely we try to strip our lives of unnecessary time takers, we fall further behind. It is only when our small fixes fail that we acknowledge we need a new paradigm.

There is a solution, and Abraham Lincoln said it best, “The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. . . . As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.” We wonder how to find that new paradigm. And what will it cost us? But, for many, fear keeps us stuck in the same old rut, going around and around in the familiar tiresome circle.

Fortunately, I found a simple first step and after trying it in my own life, I’m here to offer it to you. The process is simply called “Stopping.” It was created by a former priest, now a practicing therapist, by the name of Dr. David Kundtz.

Kundtz defines Stopping as “doing nothing as much as possible for a definite period of time (one second to one month) for the purpose of becoming more fully awake and remembering who you are.” Kundtz goes on to say that the ultimate gift of stopping allows us to be sure that when we start going and doing again, we move in the direction we want to go and that we are not just reacting to the pace of our lives. Instead, we are choosing each moment what’s best for us.

I see it as a beginning step to knowing who I am and what I truly want. It is a time of waking up to life again, a time when I recognize possibilities and hidden desires. It is a time when I accept myself as I am, with nothing to prove, nothing I MUST accomplish. Yet, it is the beginning of a journey each of us must take if we are to find our purpose in life and discover who we really are.

Stopping and doing nothing does not mean we sit on a cushion and meditate. It doesn’t mean we sleep or hibernate. It means we let ourselves flow without have to actions. We might read a book, wander in our garden - even pull a few weeds, or spend a day with the family just puttering around the house. Everyone will have a way of doing nothing that makes them feel healthy, wealthy and, yes, wise. You will be holding to you the things that are important to you when you Stop.

For me, that is being in Astoria. And I love to do it in as big a block of time as I can. Months are my measurement. I sit on my tiny balcony overlooking the Columbia River at midnight, listen to the sea lions and look at the boats lit up like Christmas trees. I sleep late and stay up late, have my meals when I am hungry, work on projects I want to work on like this short article. Life moves around me, through me, with me. There are many blessings in days like this.

For examples, suggestions, and a good read, pick up Kundtz’s book. It is called STOPPING: How to be Still When You Have to Keep Going.

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