What Does It Mean To “Just Be”?

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“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.

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?

Shari 🙂

 

 

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To Push Through The Pain? Or Not

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It’s 2:20 am and the biffy is calling my name.  Sadly. . . I can’t get out of bed. Every muscle in my body hurts; abs, thighs, arms, neck, you name it.  I was not in a serious car accident, no.  I did not run a triathlon.  Nor, did I do hard physical labor all day.

I worked out this week. . . not once, but TWICE!

About every other month, I decide I need to get in better shape, ummmm. . . I mean, in shape.  I usually only walk a few of times a week during the school year otherwise, so when these urgent calls from my body tell me to pay attention and strengthen up, I tend to jump right in and try to fix it.  Too much, too soon, too much pain.  Then, what do you think finishes off the cycle?  Yep, I rest and kinda quit.  And, the cycle continues.  Been goin on fer years now.

I wasn’t always this way.  Throughout my first 40 some years of life, I was obsessed with exercise, my eating, weight, and perfection.  Then,  a surgery that put me down.  I softened.  In a good way.  And, I started liking who I was becoming.

So, now, almost 50, I’m listening more to my body and she’s telling me I have zero core strength, I’m pretty weak and my flexibility is nadda.  But, keep up the walking – daily, Lady.  Oh and by the way, your arms are starting to look pasty and, well. . . whatever, you are almost 50.

Well, that kind of talk gets me riled.  I become driven to fight back, so I pop in those DVD’s and do everything that perky young thing tells me to do.  Push-ups? Sure.  Squats?  You got it.

Here’s the rub.  Now, my body is cuuuuu-rying!  First, she wants it, then she doesn’t.  She says to push through it and then she says to rest, it’s too much.

My daughter Lauren, who is 25 and a wellness coach, scolds me, “No pain, no gain, Mom. Push through it.  You gotta keep it up or you won’t see any results.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I tell her.  I’m her worst client.  But, I can be that way to her.  I’m her mother.  She rolls her eyes.  I’m sure I frustrate her. She says these words with love, but it’s my own voice that I hear in the background. Yes, that’s her in the photo above.

My friend who is my age consoles me, “Shar, we aren’t 25.  We’ve been down that road.  Accept who you are.  We are ok.”

I love my friend because she understands me and where I’ve been, and my daughter IS only 25.  I should rest.

But, the whole world screams, “NO EXCUSES! YOU ARE ONLY AS OLD AS YOU FEEL.”

It bothers me that I even spend time thinking about this when I could be doing something constructive, like writing or reading.  It all seems so ego-driven.

Bernice. (said like Seinfield says Newman)

I’ve grown wiser with age and have learned to not strive for the perfect anything anymore.  I just want to feel good; mind, body, heart and soul.  If any of these “friends” is left out, the others suffer.  It’s a constant state of mindfulness I need to be in, always checking in with each.  Wait, I hear a small voice of reason. . .

“Just move your body, Shar.  It doesn’t matter what you do.  Move.”

Aw, somebody with sense.  Heart and Soul are speaking up for Joy, my body.

I think I’ll just go for a walk today and do a little yoga. 🙂

Who do you listen to?  Do you push through and work through the pain?  Or, do you rest – and forget what you started?

(And, this doesn’t just pertain to exercise, you know. . . )

Shari 🙂