Last weekend I said goodbye to my husband and younger son as they set off on an adventure to Disneyland. Lane could barely contain himself; such joy and excitement.
This meant I had a weekend alone with sweet Ian.
Since Ian does not use verbal language, it also meant great opportunities to drop into wordlessness and tune into his non-verbal communication.
Ian and I spent the early part of the morning in a peaceful state of wordlessness. Moving about the house in our routine, eating breakfast, playing, and relaxing.
Then he wanted to go outside.
No doubt, to jump on his beloved trampoline. I checked the temperature - 45 degrees; too cold for this Californian girl. I helped him outside and onto the trampoline and expressed I wasn't interested in jumping in the cold and asked him to let me know when he was done.
Often, he does this thing to lure you out to jump with him. He'll come to the edge as if he's ready to get off and the moment you come outside, he drops back in, gives a certain look and makes a sound to invite you to join. He's trained many of us this way.
As I walked back to the door though he gave me different look. "Something" told me to stand at the open door. He wasn't inviting me to jump. It felt like he was asking me to watch. So, I stood there and he started to jump and squeal with delight.
I gasped! He did a trick! He wanted to show me something he'd learned. He dropped to his knees and tried to bounce back up on his feet. I'd never seen him do this before. His brother and cousin were doing it the other day. Well, his cousin was TRYING to do it in his adorable almost-2-year-old way. (Here's a video of the three of them jumping together.)
Ian wanted to show me how he could do it too.
He was so proud of himself and happy to share it with me. As soon as he showed me, he promptly moved to the edge of the trampoline and asked to get out - in the beautiful, clear non-verbal way that he does.
Had I not allowed myself to enter a state of stillness and tune into what he was asking I would have missed it completely. Throughout the weekend, I moved in and out of stillness and each time I returned to stillness, Ian rewarded me with his presence.
My favorite moment happened Sunday morning.
Normally he wakes up and wanders into my room, often with a detour to the bathroom to turn the water faucet on and off several times. He loves to hear running water. Then his sweet feet pad down the hall and down stairs to start his day with his brother.
On Sunday though, he walked straight down the hall to the edge of my bed and climbed in all on his own. We lay there for another blissful thirty minutes snuggling and dozing before he decided it was time to start the day.
How to reach a state of internal stillness?
Here are some simple steps you may explore.
1. Remove distractions that will pull you out of the present moment. 2. Ask yourself, "What am I feeling?" with the intention to notice any physical sensations or tension in your body. 3. What do you notice about your breathing? Is it shallow and fast or deep and relaxed? Then take a few moments to take three deep breaths all the way into your belly. 5. Focus on your five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell) and one at a time, see what you notice. 6. Lastly, bring your awareness to your hands. See if you feel the pulse of your blood moving in and out of your hands with each beat of your heart.
You'll find an excellent compilation of how to's (plus so much more) in Martha Beck's latest book, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World. It includes simple yet powerful exercises to help you reach a state of stillness, peace and wordlessness. I highly recommend it.
The more you practice, the easier you'll find your way back to a state of stillness and peace. Feel free to reach out to connect via email if you have questions regarding the suggested steps listed above.
I've love to hear about your personal experience with stillness. Please share in the comments below.