What Happens When You Surrender to Stillness: A Story

It was the best birthday present I could have given myself: an hour to just be. There I was in restorative yoga, lying on my purple mat, posed to surrender to stillness.

In case you haven’t tried it, restorative yoga is a sublime form of deep rest that releases tension on every level.

I love my local studio’s class, but I don’t go much. The poses are deceptively simple, so often I convince myself I could do them at home.

But of course I am a recovering perfectionist and workaholic, so you can imagine the result of that rationalization.

Surrender to Stillness, yoga

On my birthday, though, I gave myself the gift of structure and support. I listened as my wise, loving friend and teacher Ashley guided our group until we came to supported child’s pose.

Once there, I leaned forward and curled up into a resting position, turning my face turned toward the front of the studio.

Ordinarily if I faced the front I’d feel late afternoon sunlight on my face, but that Sunday I heard the rush of wind and the thrum of rain on the awning instead.

From Relaxation to Freaking Out

I was feeling deeply, wonderfully relaxed … and then I remembered an upcoming doctor’s appointment.

{Here future Caroline breaks into the narrative to offer reassurance: I’m okay. Just needing some medical care and feeling thankful to receive it.}

Medical tests have a way of exposing our human vulnerability, don’t they? When I thought about my scheduled appointment, a wave of emotion crested and broke over me as I lay there on my knees.

Though of course I didn’t speak aloud, I called out the truth with my mind and heart: “I’m scared. Please help me, I’m scared.”

I flung those words out into the universe like a grappeling hook, hoping they would reach something steady.

They did.

In that moment I sensed the Ground of Being beneath me. Call it Mother Earth, call it God, call it whatever you want. When I say “God” I mean a Presence that is unconditional love, and that’s what this solidity was.

The Ground of Being

It was real and it was sacred and I knew that I could trust it. So while remaining physically still, I let raw, unfiltered thoughts and feelings pour out of me:

“I’m scared.”
“It’s not fair.”
“I’m freaking out.”

The Ground of Being took every ounce of fear and grief and anger and subsumed it all the way the earth outside the studio was absorbing the rain.

Regardless of what I threw out, it kept giving me back the same simple, beautiful words: I love you.

I’m scared. I love you.
It’s not fair. I love you.
I’m freaking out. I love you.

It was relentless, really. No matter what I said, the response was only love.

At first I was fighting not to cry, but that was a losing battle. Tears ran down my face, over my cheeks, and onto the forest-green yoga bolster.

Yet I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want anything but this specific, shimmering peace.

Surrender to Stillness

When we’re given something beautiful like that in this life – something that fills our cups to overflowing – it’s only right that we share it.

So this is my prayer for you today, dear friends. I hope that you surrender to stillness, that you make time and space to say yes to yourself.

And within that space I hope that you tell the truth about everything that you’re feeling. And in the silence that follows, I hope that you hear the answer that is always there for you.

You’re anxious? I love you.
Lonely? I love you.
Overwhelmed? I love you.

May you be met with love, no matter what.

***

What’s your preferred way to surrender to stillness? Join the conversation in the comments!

***

A Space to Reconnect

If you’ve been feeling busy and frantic and could use some space to reconnect with what’s real, I invite you to join me and my BFF Brooke Adams Law for a free webinar: How to Be Less Busy Without Quitting Anything.

How to Be Less Busy Without Quitting Anything, Surrender to Stillness

Never too busy for books. (Recovering perfectionist aside: the flowers are plastic and the table is surrounded by drifts of cat hair that I have yet to vacuum.)

Give yourself the free gift of attending this class with us; we’d love to welcome you to listen, learn, and chat in questions and comments too.

The webinar is part of our Protect Your Energy course pre-launch, and it’s happening on Monday, June 26th at 1pm Eastern/noon Central. Can’t make that time? Register free anyway and we’ll send you a recording.

Other Fun Notes and Invitations

First, there’s still time to enter our latest book giveaway; you could win a copy of I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of their Time by Laura Vanderkam! To enter, just subscribe to the blog and leave a comment on last week’s interview post by Tuesday, June 20th at noon Central.

Next, through a series of fortunate events, I’ve taken (experimental) helm of a Facebook group! Formerly Spiritual Perfectionists Anonymous, now retitled Recovering Good Girl Perfectionists, it’s a lovely posse of nearly 200 like-minded folks. Care to join us? Just click Join Group and I’ll approve your request.

Finally, just a quick heads-up that I’ll be welcoming family to town and won’t be publishing a new post next week; see you back here on Tuesday, 6/27!

Liked this post? Receive your free Perfectionist Recovery Toolkit, featuring Getting Real & Letting Go: A Collection of Quotes for Recovering Perfectionists, the 5 Day Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Real Email Challenge, & more!

You’ll also get posts via email & Your Weekend Wish, a fun weekly missive for subscribers only.

Enter Your Email

Solemn No Spam Vow: I promise never to share your email with anyone else.

4 thoughts on “What Happens When You Surrender to Stillness: A Story

  1. Jean says:

    I truly appreciate yoga. I am quite blessed to have a membership at a health club that offers numerous yoga classes throughout the week. I go 4 times, and get a variety in my practice. However, I would love to go to a class like the one you wrote about. I may treat myself soon at a local studio. I am glad that you find yoga helpful.

    • Jean, I hear you – yoga can be a lifesaver. Glad to hear that you have access to regular classes. And yes, I’d definitely recommend trying out a restorative class when the opportunity arises! Namaste. 🙂

    • Thank you so much, dear Jill! It was one of those moments that’s so unexpected and visceral that it’s sort of daunting to try and put into words. But it just kept on tapping me on the shoulder last week, asking to be shared, so I said, “Okay, fine, you win.” 😉 As always, thank you for being here; knowing that you’re reading inspires me to offer the best I’ve got. <3

Comments are closed.