A Valediction to Stillness: Becoming Unstoppable


“You will hit a stride in life and you’ll be unstoppable.”

My dad said this to me a few weeks ago. I wanted to refute him—to tell him that he was just indulging my whining about currently feeling directionless. But I thought better of refuting him. He is my dad, after all.

I want to believe my dad’s words—I want to peer into my future (even the next few months would suffice) and exclaim, “There—I see it! There’s my stride!!” Somewhere in a corner of my brain, I know my dad is right. I just don’t know how his words will play out. Not yet.

I’m ready to become unstoppable, but first, here’s my valediction to stillness.

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I have written about giving myself space…slowing down and reprioritizing…learning stillness in motion. In my time of stillness—the last three months—I have:

  • Read. A LOT.
  • Written. Thousands and thousands of words.
  • Incubated ideas. Excellent ideas, terrible ideas.
  • Slept. Mid-afternoon naps are excellent.
  • Spent time with my mom, dad, siblings and nephews.
  • Critically explored my current skills and figured out some skills I want to develop.

I’ve sat still, breathed, reflected—the things I set out to do. And I’ve completed so much by setting out to not complete anything. I have accomplished my goal of sitting still.

I never imagined I could sit still as long as I have. And to be completely transparent, it was mostly uncomfortable. I always felt that I ‘should’ be doing more—I should be working long hours, volunteering at events or devising new projects. But in the stillness, I learned about my own strengths and weaknesses. I also learned more about the world around me. I’ve learned better how to observe with intention and how to ask quiet questions.

I’ve had time to breathe and be still. And I’m ready to move again.

Now, as I begin my unstoppable stride, I will concentrate on:

  • Helping
  • Working
  • Connecting (<< can’t help it…I love meeting people!)
  • Learning

That’s a vague list, huh? I’m okay with that. I’m excited for a wide-open horizon.

I think my dad is right. I hope my dad is right. {Thank you, Dad.}

  • Love this. Can’t wait to see what you do.

    • :) I can’t wait, either. Thanks, miss Ally!

  • Love this. Can’t wait to see what you do.

    • :) I can’t wait, either. Thanks, miss Ally!

  • I’ve been in a similar situation. I used to think that if I’m not constantly progressing than I’m not succeeding. I’ve learned that slowing down, being patient and assessing my current situation actually helped me progress when I started moving again. Thank you for a great post Cali, and I agree with the afternoon naps 110% :)

    • Isn’t it strange to have that sort of “guilt”? Part of it is my knowledge that I have an immense amount of educational and cultural capital–and I don’t want to reside in a space that is privileged and inactive. But perhaps that is a whole ‘nother conversation. :)

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Mouyyad!

      And oh, afternoon naps. How I’ll miss them.

  • I’ve been in a similar situation. I used to think that if I’m not constantly progressing than I’m not succeeding. I’ve learned that slowing down, being patient and assessing my current situation actually helped me progress when I started moving again. Thank you for a great post Cali, and I agree with the afternoon naps 110% :)

    • Isn’t it strange to have that sort of “guilt”? Part of it is my knowledge that I have an immense amount of educational and cultural capital–and I don’t want to reside in a space that is privileged and inactive. But perhaps that is a whole ‘nother conversation. :)

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Mouyyad!

      And oh, afternoon naps. How I’ll miss them.

  • amy koehler

    hooray for your dad, cali! and, as always, you are a HUGE inspiration! thank you for sharing these thoughts! xox

    • Amy, you always inspire a huge grin! You are a bright light. Thank you for the kind words (this post is owed to my dad :)).

  • amy koehler

    hooray for your dad, cali! and, as always, you are a HUGE inspiration! thank you for sharing these thoughts! xox

    • Amy, you always inspire a huge grin! You are a bright light. Thank you for the kind words (this post is owed to my dad :)).

  • Kevin

    Nice post, Cali.

    • Kevin! Hi you. Thanks.

      I could guess that you inspire and push your girl in the same way (and will do the same with the little squirt as she grows!).

  • Ted Stauffer

    Great post Cali, and yes, Dad’s are ALWAYS right!

    • Ha! *Usually* or *almost always* would be more accurate. ;D

      Thanks, Ted.

  • Kevin

    Nice post, Cali.

    • Kevin! Hi you. Thanks.

      I could guess that you inspire and push your girl in the same way (and will do the same with the little squirt as she grows!).

  • Ted Stauffer

    Great post Cali, and yes, Dad’s are ALWAYS right!

    • Ha! *Usually* or *almost always* would be more accurate. ;D

      Thanks, Ted.

  • Cali I love this post, and your attitude.

    I think we are on the same wave length. I was going to refrain from telling everyone next months book over @ http://readhere.org but I think it is something you would really want to participate in.

    The book is called Unstoppable Attitude and it is written by Peter Miller, an instructor at the school you are going to right now (yes the one I told you about).

    I am emailing you more details right now. Great Post.

    • Thanks, Jason. Your opinion and perspective mean a lot to me.

      Well, even the word “unstoppable” is enough to make me want to read the book…but that you’re suggesting it and that it’s going to be a part of Read (here) makes me *that* much more excited.

      Looking forward to working on that… :)

  • Cali I love this post, and your attitude.

    I think we are on the same wave length. I was going to refrain from telling everyone next months book over @ http://readhere.org but I think it is something you would really want to participate in.

    The book is called Unstoppable Attitude and it is written by Peter Miller, an instructor at the school you are going to right now (yes the one I told you about).

    I am emailing you more details right now. Great Post.

    • Thanks, Jason. Your opinion and perspective mean a lot to me.

      Well, even the word “unstoppable” is enough to make me want to read the book…but that you’re suggesting it and that it’s going to be a part of Read (here) makes me *that* much more excited.

      Looking forward to working on that… :)

  • Removing yourself from the chaos… for even a moment and being still will yield some of the most wonderful results you could ever ask for… just bring a pen and paper! :-)

    • Wise words. (Of course.)

      This is an excellent reminder, James. I know those wonderful results are out on the horizon. I’m gonna start running like hell to get to them.

      {Giant pad of paper & markers in hand, of course!}

  • Removing yourself from the chaos… for even a moment and being still will yield some of the most wonderful results you could ever ask for… just bring a pen and paper! :-)

    • Wise words. (Of course.)

      This is an excellent reminder, James. I know those wonderful results are out on the horizon. I’m gonna start running like hell to get to them.

      {Giant pad of paper & markers in hand, of course!}

  • I love this post. I am so terrible at stillness, and have ended up in a situation where stillness is largely forced upon me. I’ve been trying to accept it gracefully, but it is hard! Maybe this glimpse at your attitude will help me be a letter better about being still.

    • Jess, that’s got to be doubly tough to have stillness imposed on you. I was in a situation where I chose stillness, and it was tough. Yours is likely a very different experience. I sincerely wish you the best. Breathe through it. Lean into it. =)

  • I love this post. I am so terrible at stillness, and have ended up in a situation where stillness is largely forced upon me. I’ve been trying to accept it gracefully, but it is hard! Maybe this glimpse at your attitude will help me be a letter better about being still.

    • Jess, that’s got to be doubly tough to have stillness imposed on you. I was in a situation where I chose stillness, and it was tough. Yours is likely a very different experience. I sincerely wish you the best. Breathe through it. Lean into it. =)