stillness, action, quieting the storms


Today’s meditation with Deepak spoke of stillness and discovering how stillness can inspire action.  Another way of thinking about that is how stillness can penetrate our action.

When I am teaching movement, both with and without horses, I often ask students and clients to become intentionally still.  I call it the “intentional pause” strategy.  Yesterday, with my spooky horse Amadeo, I had to do a lot of intentional pausing.  What I noticed right away was that when we walked into the barn and stopped, I was holding my breath, and that I was not in my legs.  Neither was he.  We were both pretty high-headed.  So I waited, just breathing and stroking his withers, until I felt all the effervescence go out of my legs and felt my feet sinking into the arena footing.  He and I both took a lot of big breaths.  All through the ride, he kept losing his mind – spooking, balling up, his ears like two crazy satellite dishes spinning on the top of his head. It felt a little like tryng to ride this bad boy:


Each time, I would slow, pause, and stand still and breathing until I felt him settle.  Over and over, until I could feel that stillness start to come into the movement.  Storms moving off, light breaking through.

On Wednesday, I had a wonderful improvisational session with percussionist John Marshall.  He an I are percolating some work together – my dancing and his playing.  We began with the strategy of alternating movement or sound with stillness.  Each of us alternated in our own way, sometimes overlapping, sometimes in response to the other, but basically holding the thread of our own impulses for either movement/sound or stillness.  It was a way of being in conscious relationship while also listening inwardly – holding inner and outer attention simultaneously.

What about the stress storms?  Emotional weather?   Too often, we get caught in the winds of continual, unremitting exertion, busyness, rumination,worry, rage – whatever.  What I am finding is that I have to consciously weave moments of intentional stillness into all of that, as best I can.  This morning, I kept repeating the serenity prayer.  Other times, I lie down on the floor for a few soft, conscious breaths.  Sometimes I go into the studio, and let my body speak in movement, in stillness.  Little recuperations instead of big collapses.

Where do I feel the purest bliss?  With the horses.  Where can I drop everything except my love and my openness?  With the horses or basking in the sea.  I am looking for more ways to expand that bliss, to find little pockets of it everywhere.  Like the idea of little recuperations, little moments of renewing, refreshing stillness, even in action.



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