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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Where Writing Comes From

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Awakened by a high pitched whine outside my bedroom door, I cover my head and burrow back into my flannel sheets and quilts.  Saturday mornings are reserved for sleeping in past 6:30, but being the lone human at home this morning, it would be my duty to wake up to Sandy’s calling.

As I shuffle to the biffy first, Sandy follows me.  I sit down and and I receive morning kisses – dog licks on my chin and nose.

“Yes, yes, I’m happy to see you, too,” I smile.

After this reassurance, she rushes into the bedroom to see if her master is awake.  She returns after noticing his absence.  Ice fishing called his name this weekend and Sandy was left behind.  Up and down the hallway she paces.

“Wanna go outside?” I ask her.

Her tail wagging in gear three and jumping means an absolutely “YES!”  Opening the door, she bursts out, galloping over to the woods.

“Sheesh!” I mutter to myself, shaking my head. “How can she be so wound up in the morning?”

I venture off to the kitchen to make some coffee and wrinkle my nose in disgust.  Dishes fill the sink and tracings of yesterday clutter the table.  A full day yesterday at work and exhaustion upon arriving home meant a little reading and right to bed for me.  I pay the price today.

“You need to get this cleaned up before you start anything,” Bernice scolds.

“Well,  it’s going to have to wait,” I tell her, “I have writing to do.

She frowns.  I’m getting really good at talking back to my ego mind.

I fill my cup with coffee and head up to my sanctuary, having no idea  what I might write about today.  However, I know, from daily writing, that if I show up to write, something will come.

A candle is lit. My inspiration playlist gently fills my ears.  I rustle through my pens to choose the perfect one that wants to write for me today.  My notebook opens to a blank page.

Okay. I’m ready.

And, I sit.

My eyes close and I breathe, hand placed over the page.  Deep breaths, breathing in this moment.  Stillness.

“Give me something – something. . . ” I ask.

The trees outside are swaying wickedly as I gaze out the window above my desk.  The sun pops in and out of clouds.  The light so bright I have to squint my eyes.

“Wow! I have not seen that much brightness for awhile!” I say to myself out loud, the spring sun a gift.

The heat kicks in.  A vent on the floor to my right forces warmth up my way.

“M-m-m-m-m . . . this is heaven. . . the sun, the heat.”  I savor it.

Adelle’s turn to sing on my playlist.  Her words?

“Make you feel my love. . .”

I breathe again.  Angel arms wrap around me.  I shut my eyes and smile, a tear squeaking out, feeling His greatness.

“Thank you.  Yes,” I praise.

And, I put my pen to the page.

Disappearing to Lose My “Self”

I dropped from the face of the earth for awhile.  I was blessed enough to stay at a primitive, secluded cabin on a remote pond in northern Minnesota for two entire weeks this past month.

This was not a family vacation.

It was time for me.  Selfish.  Maybe.  I was tired of putting myself at the bottom of my priority list.  I had the opportunity so I flung myself at it.

During this time, I filled an entire 246 pages of paper with words.  Every day, I wrote, I read, I wept, I snapped pictures, I observed, I sketched, I was still, I listened, I wept,  I prayed, I meditated, I sang, I danced, I swam, I walked, I napped, and I just sat and pondered.

Did I mention that I wept?  More than once.  I brought myself to places I had not been able to get myself to in years.  I came to this cabin as one person. . . and left another.

This morning, I am looking through my notebook of these writings and it’s all flooding back.  Tears flood as well.  The magic of words.  They carry so much weight.  So much self discovery, so much learning, so many lessons.

I have to write about it here.    I have to share them, each page of words. . . a gift to me.  They touch me deeply.  I can’t leave these angel messages closed in this notebook and move on to other present moment experiences and thoughts.  I come to my desk every  morning and see that black leather bound journal with the broken spine and 246 pages full with stickies poking out of it sitting there on my pile of notebooks and it keeps pawing at me.  Like a puppy in church.

Today will be a day for reliving those words in my mind.  Feeling them again.

Monday will begin my story of Arrival Day At the Cabin and the person that was.

Shari 🙂

Angels Among Us

On my walk today, I forced myself to be present with my surroundings and to look for whispers from the Universe to guide some decisions about some worries I can’t seem to shake lately.
I glanced into the sky and did a double take as my eyes were drawn to an angel. I clicked a photo with my iphone praying she would appear clearly.
I am in awe of how God works. If we just put out there our fears, worries, and wonders and can be present enough and somehow clear away all that monkey brain stuff, the answers are always there. But, we have to see.
I think I’ll try to quit obsessing about this current worry. Apparently, God has already taken care of it.
Angels are out there. And, if I can have faith in them, I can be at peace.
Shari