Faith and Works: Keely Song Glenn Shares the Wisdom and Peace She Found in the Stillness

Glenn shared her experiences of drawing closer to God and connecting with others as she leaned into the pauses of life

On December 2, dance professor Keely Song Glenn spoke to an audience of CFAC students and faculty as she shared the experiences that have taught her to lean into the still moments of her life. Her lecture was part of the Faith and Works lecture series, an opportunity for the faculty of the CFAC to present how their disciplines and their faith intersect and enhance one another.

Glenn’s remarks centered on the ways in which we can lean into the pauses of our lives and find peace within the stillness. “In my lived experience, it has been in the stillness, both on the stage and in my life, where I find God, the courage to ask and start and the reason for the collaborative process of creation,” said Glenn.

Throughout her lecture, Glenn invited the audience to breathe and embrace the stillness within themselves and in the space around them. She encouraged the audience to consider the question “What comes to you in the stillness?”

Finding God

During a poignant moment in her lecture, Glenn shared how she felt disconnected from herself after her third child was born. She had to let go of her previous dance identity and rediscover who she was once again. It was in those moments of stillness that Glenn turned to God for support.

Glenn said that she felt empowered as she realized that “God can build me anew.” She was able to begin again and trust that this was how the Lord was teaching her to become who He wanted her to be.

Quoting from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Glenn reiterated, “We don’t need to be more of anything to start to become a person God intended us to become. God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you. All you need is a willing heart [and] a desire to believe and trust in the Lord.”

When she realized how God was helping her through the stillness, Glenn said that she felt hopeful. “Ultimately, by surrendering in the stillness, I witnessed my fears and hopes,” she said. “And by naming it, I was able to move forward by choosing hope—the kind of hope touched by sorrow, but that could bring peace within the chaos.”

Courage to Ask and Start

Although new beginnings can be both exciting and intimidating, Glenn encouraged the audience to be brave and find the courage to first ask and start anew. “The desire to try to start is revolutionary,” she said. And such revolutionary beginnings often begin with asking a question.

Using the principle of asking found in Matthew 7:7—“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”—Glenn encouraged the audience to consider how they can seek out collaboration and connection with others in their creative endeavors.

“The creative process, interpersonal relationships and spiritual revelations are founded on the principle of the ask,” said Glenn. 

From her own experience, Glenn recalled a moment where she found the courage to ask another dance group about collaborating together for a short dance film. She remembers that the experience was “a start to be brave, to ask, to reach for others in hopes that they might reach back to me and create that spark of genuine collaboration.” 

As a result of Glenn’s courageous ask, she was able to create the short dance film and foster a connection with the dance group she contacted. “This was a miracle on testing the power of the ask,” said Glenn, “and the miracles when individuals come together and say yes.”

She encouraged the audience to remember that “a ‘yes’ is most genuinely lived when there is space and stillness to hold the ask, a space to hold reflection and to provide margin for creativity, error and curiosity.” 

“With each ‘yes,’” Glenn asked, “Is there time to be still and know that God is?”

Collaborative Process of Creation

Glenn emphasized the importance of really listening to the stillness when we find ourselves in those moments. While not all moments of stillness are positive experiences, Glenn maintained that those instances are still vital to our growth.

“As we know, not all moments of stillness are welcoming. Some are excruciatingly lonely and painful,” Glenn said. “But it’s important to remember those moments as well. Why? So you and I can better help others on their paths.”

An important part of helping others is learning to listen to the voice that comes in the stillness. Glenn quoted 2 Nephi 28:30 as she encouraged the audience to trust the Lord in the creative and collaborative process: “I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom.”

As we work to build good habits, Glenn observed, we need to “cast not away . . . [our] confidence” in both ourselves and in the Lord. Rather, she urged the audience to work with the Lord as we become who He would have us become.

Quoting from President Kevin J. Worthen’s 2015 devotional, Glenn plead, “I am asking you to trust yourself more, but more important[ly], I am asking you to trust God. I urge you—in your moments of doubt and despair, in the times when you think you have failed and you think you can’t make it right—to focus more on Him and less on yourselves.”

In a digital age, Glenn asked the audience to consider what habits of connection they are building—and what messages they are sending into the digital and physical worlds. 

Glenn concluded her lecture with a benediction to the attendees: “May you find truth and deep knowledge within the stillness, wisdom and power in seeking for the ask and discovering habits that will shape your digital and physical soul.”