Gudrun Cartwright

Apr 25, 2022

Stillness is how we grow

In the 21st Century, growth is the name of the game.

The economy. Profits. Wealth and possessions. Ourselves - we must strive to be our best, or life has not been worthwhile.

Our culture is relentless. Whole industries are working to help us grow, facilitating dissatisfaction to keep us on the treadmill:

  • Adverts convince us buying more will push our growth into our best life.

  • Edited images encourage us to to aspire to unattainable realities.

  • We end up comparing people's polished outsides to our messy insides and feel inadequate.

So we're not good enough as we are and must always do better.

But what if striving stops us growing?

When you plant a seed you must leave it alone for its potential to emerge. If we keep uncovering it, poking at it, telling it that it's not good enough, it doesn't stand a chance.

It's the same for us.

I am a sucker for striving to better myself. But only stilling my mind enables real growth. Whether it's sitting in meditation, gardening and connecting with nature or exercising so hard my body takes over.

The secret is to realise real growth comes with discomfort and stillness brings discomfort in spades

So experiment. I recommend you start by sitting in silence for 5 minutes. Which might feel interminable. Set a timer and just be. I like to light a candle to hold my gaze and focus on my breathing. When chatter kicks in, which it inevitably does, just notice and refocus.

Try different activities that help to move you out of your head and into a place of greater stillness where you don't have to strive at all. And notice what happens.

Getting comfortable with discomfort is the most underrated and essential skill for any grownup

And is the place where true growth happens. So challenge yourself to be still rather than keep on striving and see what might just emerge as a result.

Gudrun Cartwright

ChangeMaker. Community Builder. Climate Justice Campaigner. Figuring out what it means to be a grownup fit for the 21st Century.