How the Genius Gets In

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Finding yourself in a still moment is almost unheard of nowadays. It reminds me of being in a grocery store when you suddenly become aware that everything is quiet…no music, no announcements, just people quietly rolling their carts along, as if these are now the aisles of a library for food.
As our lives become increasingly digital, flying along at the speed of megabits, it can almost be scary to find yourself in the space of momentary stillness doing nothing, as if without action and distraction that something bad will happen. That the only thing to keep the world from crashing down is to move it, move it, move it, which, curiously, was the exact instruction of a panic attack I had 32 years ago. I was in Norway with my husband and his Norwegian grandmother on a farewell tour, the last time she expected to see her homeland. She was quite old. But my daughter was only 6 months old and she was oceans away. While standing in a little abbey listening to a tour guide I was seized with the feeling that if my legs stopped moving something terrible would happen and so I marched in place, then went outside and took laps around the abbey as my legs tried to run across oceans.
The feeling that something bad will happen if we slow down or just stop…that’s what I think is happening to us now, collectively, with our attunement to technology making it feel against nature to disregard notifications. As if any function that requires we pause for a moment while life sorts and loads is a sign of global system failure. But that agitation to move it, move it, move it makes it harder, harder, harder to allow for those moments of stillness. Those are the moments that Albert Einstein considers gold.
“I think 99 times and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence and the truth comes to me.”
This sounds true to me and reminds me of what we know about the housekeeping in our head that happens only when we sleep deeply, the slow waves helping to consolidate memories and clear the brain of harmful proteins that have built up. We need to protect these still, empty spaces because that’s how the genius gets in.*
It’s pretty clear that life no longer naturally makes space for stillness, so we have to do it intentionally. For an easy way to help protect your genius at work, make a quick link to this 1-minute of assisted stillness…just you sitting there with your eyes closed for one minute, listening to the sounds of silence.
For more stillness, sign up for Relaxx, Northern Light’s new mindfulness and meditation app. You’ll find everything you need  right here in Resource ME under Benefits: Health & Wellness. Look for “Getting Started with Relaxx.
Wishing you peace,
*Riffing on Leonard Cohen’s beautiful Anthem. “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”