I can't even begin to tell you how ecstatic I am to introduce this week's guest blogger. Caitlin Lyon, owner of Lyon Wellness, is one of my absolute favorite humans and a biz sister of the soulful variety. She is, among many things, a craniosacral therapist, writer, healer and embodiment guide.
This week on the blog, Caitlin speaks to that certain restlessness, the aversion to noise, the overwhelming urge to run for the hills. She shares the steps to seeking stillness and how doing so connects us to an amplified life and increased vitality.
Back soon! xx
We all struggle with something.
A certain restlessness, an aversion to noise, feeling flat or uninspired, an overwhelming urge to run for the hills. A mountain. A forest. Somewhere. Anywhere! Maybe not all the time and not all at once, but these are common afflictions I hear from clients these days, and I believe they stem from overwhelmed, overstimulated nervous systems, and not enough stillness in people’s lives.
For the longest time, this was my struggle: Seeking stillness in life and being awfully disappointed when I couldn’t access it. When I felt like the only mode of living was reacting to life, pushing through or catching up, instead of being immersed in its flow.
Even with yoga teaching certifications and talented meditation teachers on speed dial, even with a rather calm nature and lots of self-awareness skills, I craved a more sustained sense of stillness. And except for the occasional glimpse after an exhausting day or a reaaaallly good Sivasana at the end of a yoga class, I felt amiss.
It wasn’t until becoming a body therapist and really understanding how our body’s physiology and energy systems process and integrate, with their need for rhythm and a certain kind of attention, that I started to become aware of a whole new way of perceiving and being. I realized stillness was in no way a singular static entity to try to maintain, but instead came with an understanding of containment and boundaries, ground and expansion, receiving and allowing, support and stability, breath and awareness. And it’s experienced differently in every moment, for every person.
As a craniosacral therapist, I spend many hours a day supporting clients in communing with their bodies. I listen to the body, all of its various systems and patterns, humming away between my hands. I feel within my whole body that there is a resonance of stillness that permeates us at our core, and it drives life, whether we give it our attention or not. How miraculous is that? Your heart beat. Your lungs. Your cells. Pulsing in rhythm, twenty-four seven, without you even thinking about it.
But what happens when we do manage to give it our attention?
Well, that stillness, which actually feels much more dynamic and alive than I would have ever imagined, is amplified.
Now, stillness is my companion and the daily offering to those I work with - from the tiniest, tenderest newborns, to the stressed out teenager desperately wanting to come off antidepressants and be able to sleep, to the mom of a highly sensitive child trying to figure out how to tame the temper tantrums and create a more soothing environment for the family, to the creative wanting to trust her own wisdom more. Through stillness, we discover how to come into relationship with the deeper aspects of our health, the deeper manifestations of our own voice and stance in the world.
Given the work I do, both as a hands-on clinician, and as a mentor to creatives, coaches, and fellow practitioners, I feel it’s one of the most precious resources we have.
So today, I thought it would be fun to explore 3 simple ways to begin to discover how you connect to stillness.
One. Explore what you and your body prefer: space or weight?
When we move, we do so in relation to our experience of weight (the Earth) and space (the space within and around us). And interestingly enough, each of us orients to weight and space in a very unique way. Most of us have a preference for one, more than the other, and that’s what we’re going to explore now.
Start by saying the word, “space” to yourself.
What sensations or feelings arise when you think the word? Write about your experience or draw what you may see with your inner eye.
Next, say the word, “weight.” What happens in your body when you think this word? Write or journal with sketches.
Knowing our gravitational preferences can help us practice its opposite, making way for greater body organization and an overall feeling of being supported.
This not only affects how we move our bodies, but how we feel in relationship to others and the ways in which we perceive our world. For example, I once led a group through this exercise where I was only guiding people to experience weightedness, and one woman, beginning to look uncomfortable, raised her hand and said she was feeling smothered. Instead of feeling grounded, she felt like she couldn’t breathe, and this was surprising to her.
I said, “Okay, let’s meditate on space for a moment. Everybody. Bring your attention to spaaaaccce. Lots... and lots... of space.” I watched her body open. And she nodded and smiled. Afterwards, I realized it made sense. She loves to skydive! Space is her ally. So putting emphasis on space first will actually help to ground and relax her. See what your body responds to best.
Two. Practice hearing instead of listening.
While listening is a wonderful component of communication, it can be draining for us over time. When we listen, our ears and our energy moves toward the sound we want to hear, but when we hear, we rest and allow that sound to come to us. Today, experiment with letting sounds come to you, and notice what it feels like in your body to allow this sound to envelope you. Do you feel more relaxed? Does it feel strange to rest back and let it come to you? Or familiar? Maybe you naturally do this.
Three. Rest on your belly and your back.
When was the last time you just sprawled out on your living room floor?
For no purpose, other than to take up room.
Our bodies are cradled by the earth. Yet, we often are unaware that we hold our weight away from the ground, creating tension in our bodies, sucking our bellies in, or creating more resistance for our energy than needed.
For women, it’s especially beneficial to rest on both the back and the belly.
So rest on your belly and let your whole body pour into the support of gravity. Know that as you do, you’re feeling the protection of Mother Earth meet the more vulnerable aspects of you - your front space comprised of your heart, chest, and the belly housing your deepest internal organs. When you need to feel more protected and secure, this is a comforting position to be in.
(Sidenote: If you ever find yourself restless during Savasana, or final relaxation pose, and unable to relax, try turning over onto your belly first for a few moments and see if it shifts anything.)
Once you’ve settled here for awhile, turn over to rest on your back with your palms facing up. Now, you’re in a more receptive space. Rest here, staying opening, feeling your bones spread towards the surface of the earth, and your whole body surrender. Observe your breath, and let it be.
Indulge in letting your body be supported. And wait for an impulse to sit back up.
And as you move through the day, feel the ground, the surface underneath you. The texture, the temperature. Allow the support to come up to meet you. Notice how it feels to let the body receive the ground. If you’re in a chair, receive the support of your chair, too. If you’re standing or walking, continue to feel your feet and all of your bones sink towards the earth.
I hope you enjoyed this journey. I hope it gave you a peek into the visceral experience that stillness is the ground of our being. It’s the ground that gives root to our creative potential. It’s there, resting in the background of everything we experience. And as we build our very own language, our own "apps" if you will, to activate this stillness, we give ourselves room for a quiet understanding.
At the end of the day, when I disengage from my life in the office, I can succumb to the mental frenzy of business to tend to just like the rest of my human compatriots. But with these practices and habits, the mental buzz is now a soft hum, much like the vibrations that stream through my hands. It’s life bubbling through, just wanting to be witnessed, gently and lovingly.
Caitlin Lyon is a healer, teacher, writer, wellbeing mentor, and owner of Lyon Wellness. She has practiced energy medicine for over a decade and studied somatic work and healing with some of the world's leading master. Her private sessions, women's workshops, retreats, and writings offer guidance and inspiration for courageously leading our lives with an open heart.
She works with women all over the world and has been featured and interviewed for many podcasts and radio shows, including the Art of Peace Radio, the Mystics Circle, Lindsay Pera’s The Shift Series, and Success Secrets for Entrepreneurs. In 2012, she received blessing from Pamela Wilson to share satsang and give voice to feminine wisdom and teachings - a privilege she holds dear. Her private healing practice, known as Lyon Wellness, is located in Solvang and Santa Barbara, CA.