The room was quiet except for the zen-like orchestral piece piped in softly through some well disguised speakers.
My eyes were closed, but I was not resting.
Despite the tranquil surroundings, my Monday morning mind was making lists and posing unanswered questions as if I were seated at my office desk.
I was fairly oblivious to the juxtaposition between the external and internal until she began to run circles of luxurious crème into my brow. It was at that moment I realized it was furrowed. Deeply crinkled in thought. Worry. Stress.
She must have noticed too. She continued to draw circles on each side of my forehead until it released.
It was a Christmas gift. This delightful oasis of a day at my favorite, but rarely frequented, spa. My husband surprised me with a full package. Facial. Massage. Lunch in front of the stone fireplace.
I had been counting down the minutes until my appointment. Imagining all the relaxation. The hours away from phones and computers and chores and kids. I’d imagined napping in the Tranquility Room after lunch. Luxuriating in the sauna. How everything would quiet for this day.
But there I lay, in the middle of all I had anticipated, with furrowed brow. Endless list-making. Deadline creating. Concerns and undone ends piling up in my head.
Then she pressed a cloth over my eyes and mouth. She took some sort of facial paint brush and painted an incredibly warm dark mask over my face and neck. It was the darkest dark I had experienced in recent memory. Complete blackness where even the faintest light couldn’t creep in.
And in that dark cover, I let it go.
The worries and lists. The time tables and email responses. The untying ideas and forgotten chores.
It’s getting harder, right?
The twenty year old me would have stood agog at the surroundings. The forty year old me almost missed it altogether.
Are you married? Have kids? A career? Deadlines? Bills? To do lists?
We’ve grown older and the demands on our time and attention have grown too. As has technology’s overwhelming capability to “help” you react and act in real-time.
But spirit stillness doesn’t require a fancy spa. A dark mud mask. Gregorian chanting.
It requires a willingness to BE STILL.
To allow time to pass without “progress.” Accomplishment. Check marks.
We need the stillness even more as the pressures grow. Otherwise, a release will happen. But instead of a release into the quiet we will explode from the pressure. Maybe it’s time to take a little time. To find a spot of darkness where you can quiet your mind.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37
Yes, my soul, find rest in God. Psalm 62
Photo credit The Houstonian