May 5, 2020

If you can’t find Inner Stillness, it’s because You’re not Moving. {Book Excerpt & Live Reading}

Toby Israel book excerpt article

*Editor’s Note: Here at Elephant, we’re notorious bookworms—we love them, and want you to love them, too. But, recently, we found out books are evil—one of the worst things for the environment. Before you buy your next book, read this and this. Keep reading, but read responsibly.

*Author’s Note: I hope this short excerpt from my book will inspire you to seek stillness, peace, and joy in movement—in whatever form that takes for you right now! 


What is this thing that calls me to move and calms me through action?

What is it about being in motion—in trains or on foot, by boat, or in dance—that soothes my mind into a stillness I have never found in sitting meditation? What is it about being in motion that, like an embodied lullaby, so entrances me—and I suspect so entrances many other lovers of movement?

The answer is in the question. Movement entrances. It occupies us—or at least it occupies me—so fully that there is absolutely no space for thoughts of elsewhere. Other times, other people, other places…these disappear in the all-pervading “this-ness” of moving. (Moving my body through space or being moved through space, it hardly matters, so long as the coordinates change fast enough to leave thoughts and worries behind.)

For many years now, I have been writing about the inner stillness that arises when all else is in flux. I experience this same outcome in yoga and ecstatic dance, aerial arts, and contact improv. I think it’s safe to say that this magic stillness is my only addiction. A single taste will have you seeking it again for the rest of your life.

A vagabondess knows this. A dancer knows this. A meditator or yogi knows this. However you step outside the borders of your skin and embrace the “this-ness” of pure movement, you will never be satisfied to remain inside the lines again.

In my years of vagabonding, I have heard two things more often than anything else: “What are you looking for?” and, “I hope you find what you’re looking for.” But it’s not a “what.” It is a “how.” It is a voice that calls me to move and a sense of boundlessness that keeps me coming back. It is a way of moving through life and through space. It is not a thing I can find and then be done with. It is the searching that gives meaning and form to the sought. And so we vagabondesses keep chasing shadows through the desert and melodies through the mountains. We keep seeking stillness in movement.

Excerpt from Vagabondess: A Guide to Solo Female Travel.

Check out a live reading here:



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Editor: Lisa Erickson