Here’s one thing I know for sure: Stillness is a powerful practice. This may come as an unconventional statement, after all, our world pushes noise and static at us every moment of every day. It seems like the normal way to exist.
Finding a quiet space to tap into a place of serenity and inner-truth can be challenging. As an adoptee, I’ve struggled with the deep desire to be still and connect with those places within me that wanted to be heard. My heart would whisper, come to me. My head would answer, run! For a very long time, it was my head that won.
As a little girl, I remember running down the streets of my neighborhood with fevered fury—all the while hoping that I might disintegrate and disappear. I was a young adoptee who avoided feeling anything. The running helped. I thought I could outrun the pain as I tried to make sense of the life circumstances that seemed void of any logic.
How could my first parents have left me? Why did they go? Where did they go? What did I do to make them leave? The noise in my head—in the mind—spoke loudly of my shortcomings. Society didn’t help. I was often reminded that adoption was viewed, by many, as a second best option.
Then, there was the feeling that somehow I had caused the unraveling of my earliest life. Parents don’t leave good children behind. I heard this message, constantly, in the mind. No one could hear it but me. I came to the conclusion that I was bad. I didn’t know how to change my condition.
I felt helpless. Lessened. And, so I turned up the noise to a deafening level—avoiding all the hurt and pain. My identity became rooted in the belief that I was the child of two parents who never planned for me and who didn’t want me. In the mind, this identity singled me out and marked me as forever damaged. My shattered self-worth seemed beyond repair. Just ignore the hurt that waits beneath the surface, I would tell myself.
THEN, I FOUND STILLNESS.
It was unexpected.
I recall the moment well. I had just learned of my birth father’s passing. I sat, in my car, in disbelief. The voice on the other end of the phone—a stranger from my birth country—said, “He’s dead, Michelle.” I was angry. I was hurt. I felt betrayed and rejected, again, by my father. I got out of my car and screamed through my tears, “This rejection is too final! How can I ever find peace if I can’t find you?” I’d been searching for my birth father. I found him too late. Just another failed attempt to heal…
As I sat on the side of the road—exhausted by rage—I was awakened to something brand new. It was quiet—there was no noise swirling in my head. There was just me under a vast and still New Mexico sky. I could feel my breath as it entered and exited my body. I placed my hands on my chest. I’d never allowed myself to feel my breathing before. To feel my breath filling up my lungs meant that I’d also have to feel letting my breath out, and letting it go.
I WASN’T GOOD AT LETTING GO.
Yet, something was telling me to surrender to the moment—to the stillness—and listen for the wisdom within me. What I heard, on that New Mexico night, changed me. A voice that told this once broken adoptee that it was time to let go of the pain so that I could move forward with my life. A voice that spoke of just how much I was wanted in the world—needed even. I sat within this stillness for the longest time. It was my first step toward wholeness. I no longer felt like running. I wanted to sit inside of this peaceful place, forever.
There was so much that had conspired to bring me into the world. Yes, it was a messy story but it was also miraculous. My birth parents were the only two people on the planet who could have come together to create me. Their’s was not a socially acceptable coupling, but it was required in order for me to be born. The noise of my earlier life—those judgements, outside expectations, and false narratives about me and my parents had taken over the sounds of my truth. I was needed in the world and my birth parents created the path to bring me here. They may not have known it, but it’s exactly what they did. In the stillness, I grew a strength to focus—not on the mess—but on the miracle.
WHERE FOCUS GOES, ENERGY FLOWS.
I’d been focusing on the pain and the mess—and guess what I got in return? Painful and messy energy. When I turned off that noise, stayed in a place of stillness, and shifted my focus, the energy that came forth spoke of the miracle and promise of me. It’s the fuel that spurs me forward every day.
I know that adoption hurts. It’s the pain of rejection that’s hard to let go of. Yet, as adoptees, it’s essential that we do. How we find the strength and direction to let go of the pain awaits us within the stillness. The stillness holds the roadmap to our healing, as adopted people. We just have to stop running and start listening. We’re born with so much knowledge and so much love. It’s the hurt that pulls us away from this spiritual place of knowing and loving. Your soulful truth is your gold! Don’t wait another second to find your one-of-a-kind treasure.
Here’s an exercise for beginning your relationship with stillness: Take at least five minutes, today, to sit in quiet meditation. Start your time by saying this affirmation:
WITHIN STILLNESS, I AM FOUND.
Breathe that in. This is a simple way to begin the powerful practice of stillness. Focus on the miracle of you. Let the energy that’s born of your focus guide you, uplift you, and direct you toward peace within you. Listen to what wants to be heard. Welcome the words, come to me. Embrace that reunion.