Be Still. Read more about this picture in Featured Artwork.
Have you ever wished for a bit of peace and quiet?
Have you ever traveled hundreds of miles to a beach, to stand with your bare feet in the sand and watch the surf?
Have you ever hiked to the top of a mountain to sit in the clouds?
Have you ever daydreamed of going back to a time in your life, when the trouble of the world (and the pain of life) didn’t seem to have the grip on you that it does now?
We hear so often that one of the signs of depression or anxiety, is isolating oneself from others. This is certainly true.
What we don’t often address is the inability or the unwillingness to be alone. This is what I would like to explore with you today.
All of the great spiritual teachers and artists of the world, take time alone to have purposeful quiet times. They use this time to clear their mind, and connect to their inner voice and higher purpose. This quiet space fuels their ability to lead, and their ability to create beautiful works.
I’m sure none of you would argue this time alone is crucial to the work they do in the world.
So why don’t we allow ourselves to go to a quiet space?
Why do we fill our lives so full that we lose ourselves?
Is our own heart, mind, and soul not also important?
For the last 3 years I have purposefully slowed down my life. I created the boundaries and margin needed to have a life full of not just work, but connection with others at a soul level. I made it my mission to spend only a reasonable amount of time on my work...and more on myself, and the people I love and care about.
The journey was quite healing. Several relationships I formed during these times, led to opportunities to further my business.
But still something was missing.
After much soul searching, I realized that though I was not “over-working”, I was still moving constantly from one person to the next person...from one “healthy” activity to the next.
Many times when I could have had quiet, I found myself filling it with “noise”.
Many times when I could have been alone, I found myself picking up the phone to see if a friend was free.
What was I avoiding?
In February of this year, after I successfully launched my business Mai Trainer, I found myself in front of a greater audience than ever before. Other trainers from around the country began contacting me via email to collaborate on projects...or to send clients to me who were moving to Kansas City from out of state. My phone’s alert tones were sounding throughout the day.
I should have been ecstatic.
Instead I felt terrified. Terrified of “losing” myself again.
But had I really found my true self? Had I really been living the full life I was longing for?
Much to the dismay of those closest to me, I stopped in my tracks.
I waited for the answer.
I meditated on the scriptures that I had helped me so much in the past.
There are two stories I turned to, and feel led to share with you.
Moses was leading his people to freedom after years of slavery. They were being chased and faced what they thought was certain death. When they turned to Moses in fear and anger, he said to them.
“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14.
If you know the story, this is when the Red Sea parted in front of them...and they were saved. (Be Still is based on this story)
Many years later, Jesus was speaking all day to a crowd by a lake. That evening, he wanted to leave the crowd behind and go to the other side of the lake.
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
I determined I was on the right track. I determined that taking a purposeful pause was what I was called to do...even though it meant I would lose the momentum of my January business launch.
But it was not just a pause from adding any additional work… it was a call to look inward.
It was a call to embrace quiet.
It was a call to find peace.
It was a call to restore my heart, mind, and soul.
As invitations for additional work or play came, I declined many of them, and began sharing with others, that I had been called to take time away.
Several close friends started questioning my mental health.
When they realized I was not in fact depressed, and just wanted space and time away, some questioned my friendship.
I stood firm in my desire to withdraw. I explained to those who would listen.
It was painful for them. It was painful for me.
And that’s when my battle with quiet truly began.
First, I let quiet take over my car rides. I often turned off the radio, and just rode in silence.
Next, I let quiet take over my times at home, when I normally would have been with friends. No music. No television. No internet or social media. No audio courses. No books. I focused on cleaning and setting up my new apartment.
I let myself be conscious of what was happening in my own mind.
Over the course of 2 months I moved from fear, to doubt, to anger...and then to what was really there...pain.
This last month, I have finally let myself cry...whenever I’ve felt moved to.
We have been taught when we are in pain, that we should turn towards positive things.
That we should focus not on our pain, but on others. That turning away from the pain is the answer. That this will bring peace.
I do believe that to be true...especially in the acute phases of grief, loss of relationship, recovery from addictions, recovery from abuse...the list goes on. It is crucial that we not isolate ourselves during these times when we are surely lost, and are at risk of not being able to come out of our pain.
We do need to reach out to others. We do need to step outside of our pain and see that we are not alone.
But this is not the full story of restoration.
Restoration continues as we lean into the pain (once we are able to face it), and let ourselves feel the weight of it.
If we are willing to stop and acknowledge what has happened to us, we can write those experiences into our life’s story, instead of trying to run from our past.
We can restore our heart, mind, and soul.
We can finally let others see the complete picture of our lives, once we have made peace with the pain.
This allows others to feel comfortable in sharing their hidden pain. This allows deeper connection.
We have all suffered, or will suffer. None of us is exempt.
I invite you to go on this journey of restoration with me.
This website will be the expression of my truest self.
I will give a voice to my story, in hopes that you will find your voice.
I will shine light into my dark spaces, in hopes you will light up your own lives.
I will create beauty from heartache, in hopes that you will also create something beautiful.
How this journey will unfold, I am not certain. I am only certain that I have been called...and if you have read this far...maybe you were meant to hear.
My name is Maile Inouye. I am an artist, author, and athlete...amongst many other titles. These titles are the earliest I can remember giving to myself, and they have held true throughout my 34 years. I will carry them with me forever.
I am called to share my methods of restoring the heart, mind, and soul with you. I would love to have you come along with me.
If you feel moved to follow me, join my list and you will be the first to see what is coming next.