“You need to Just Be.”
I’m hearing this voice over and over lately. It’s summer time and people are trying to Just Be and take time off from their busy lives. Emails in my inbox from spiritual writers encourage the world to Just Be. My body tends to want to Just Be.
But, what does this really mean? To Just Be?
I was telling a friend about my plans for summer and possibly next year in my work. I get excited about my work sometimes when I begin to think of all the possibilities. Every year, in education, is an opportunity for renewal. My mind spins at all of the things I’d like to do differently next year. I can always do better, I know.
This person listened compassionately and then said,
“Shari, my hope for you is to Just Be for awhile.”
These words are still ringing in my brain. Now, I know this person has my well being in mind, not wanting me to take on too much, or really, just wanting me to slow down and not think about school for awhile. I honestly believe my work supports my purpose in life, so I don’t always think of it as work. For some, work is work and life outside of work is, well. . . life. We teachers are in a different category, as they we always thinking about our profession.
I had to ponder on these words long and hard. Because, I consider myself much more of a BE-er than a DO-er.
I let the words, Just Be, marinate in my brain for awhile and decided that Just Be has different meanings for different people. Not only this, but for the same person, it means different things at different times depending upon what they are doing and their understanding of the depths of Just Be.
Here are some of the ways I think we define Just Be:
Definition #1: I’m taking a break from work or doing anything that involves a lot of work. That break might be for a moment, it might be for a week, or a vacation or a summer. It might mean vegging out in front of the tv, conversing on facebook, or doing anything that takes them away for the stressful lives they live. Don’t start any big projects or do any planning at this time. I did a lot of this kind of Just Being after my daughter’s wedding. Actually, I slept and read books instead of any fall work in the yard. I used Just Being as my excuse to not do the stuff I was supposed to do.
Definition #2: Leave me alone. When my daughters used to go through those teenage hormonal weeks, they would often say, “I want to Just Be!” Really, this meant to get out of their space. Leave me alone.
Definition #3: Be content. Stop seeking. Accept what is and be happy with that.
Definition #4: To be present in every moment of your life. If someone is speaking to you, stop what you are doing and fully listen. BE in the moment. If you are watching tv or a movie, BE there to feel the characters/people you are watching, connect to them. If you are eating, savor your food, eat slow, be grateful for the nourishment. This means shutting off your phone just to Just Be with the act of what you are doing.
It means to look for opportunities to JUST BE in your day. An interruption in your drive to stop at the railroad tracks for a train is just this. Rather than being annoyed about a delay in your plan or to occupy the few minutes reaching to check your phone, you have an opportunity to take deep breaths and listen, look around you, pay attention to the world. Say a prayer. Think of a friend in need and send her your loving energy. Just take some long deep breaths and quiet the mind. Listen to and focus on your breath. Stop the rampant thoughts. Always, waiting for trains is just this chance to do this. Waiting can be a gift if you look at it that way.
It means to slow down your pace. Take small snippets of time to be grateful. Write something down in your journal. Send a note of “You Matter” to someone who needs to be reminded. Stop living at the speed of a to-do list that only Superman could accomplish. Glorifying busyness is not a healthy state of mind to live in. We can so easily become a victim of busyness. This is ego who needs this.
It means to take time every day for listening. This may mean meditation. It may be prayer. It might be yoga. It could be sitting on the front porch with coffee watching the hummingbirds. It’s a silencing of the mind. Be mindful. Be conscious of your thoughts. The only way I can hear what God wants me to do is if I silence Bernice. It takes daily work and constant practice.
It means living the life of who you truly are. It’s Being authentic. If I spend all day writing and reading, it’s because I love it and it’s who I am. If I strive to train for a marathon, it will take time and dedication, but it will be because that’s a dream and it’s who I am (you would not really find me doing this though).
It means to follow your dreams. God’s plan for us is way bigger than what our little minds tell us. Ego keeps us small. Dreams mean work. To make dreams happen, you have to DO.
Be – Do – Be – Do – Be – Do – Be – Do
In Just Being, we listen. We hear what our heart and soul intends for us to do. Then, we Do. Without the Doing, we are not following through with our listening that comes from Just Being. And, I’m not talking about our mind telling us we should scrub the floor, although, sometimes when we are Just Being, we hear a voice that says to clear, de-clutter, clean.
It’s Being Present in whatever we are doing. It’s a way of life.
Do we ever master it. I don’t think so. Maybe if you are a Zen Master. Not I. The need for me to constantly be conscious of my thoughts and bring myself back to a place of being will be my life’s work.
I’d like to be able to live Definition #4.
What do you think? What is your definition of Just Being?