Seeking Stillness in Unsettling Times

Great grey owl, Strix nebulosa, hidden of tree trunk in the winter forest, portrait with yellow eyes

I believe I was well into my 50’s before I realized that silence was actually a form of speech.  Whether at work or at home, silence, when used properly, was not emptiness but rather a powerful moment filled with possibilities and sometimes dread.   It became my opportunity to let ideas in while keeping others out.

Now as I sit in isolation with the rest of the world, I understand that stillness is the new silence.  It too is a form of speech.  It is also a form of action.  

Stillness is the new silence.

Elizabeth Coplan

Maria Popov of Brain Pickings writes that stillness  is “ an element of advancement, in evolution, in all forward motion.”  Popov considers building pockets of stillness into your life as one of her top learnings.

But too many of us believe that stillness is an endpoint, we miss the reality that it is only the beginning – especially for those moving through grief.  

In our new story Stillness, Grief Dialogues author Susan Johnson opens the piece with an owl that “still comes before dawn and calls to me from the woods” even as all other birds seem to obey the stay-at-home order meant only for humans.  This owl bears silent witness, observing Susan’s inner wisdom even as she worries “what is left between the dawn and the dusk?  What meaning is there to be found within our own new limits? “

These are questions many of us ask in our isolation and grief.  

What is left between the dawn and the dusk?  What meaning is there to be found within our own new limits?

Susan Johnson

I now invite you to read Susan’s Stillness.  Ask yourself these questions, understand how silence, stillness, and solitude can introduce you to the secrets of yourself.  And then perhaps appreciate her feelings of hope where there appears to be little.  

To read more of Susan’s writings, consider a donation of $20 or more to Grief Dialogues. A copy of our book, with two other pieces by Susan Johnson, will be shipped to you as our thank you.

If you would like to write for Grief Dialogues, please visit our Submit Your Story page. 


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