I was contemplating what to write about for my J post and thought about the latest and greatest fad to journey work. But as I turned this idea over in my mind, I heard a voice speak very clearly: “Just Be”. Just be? What is that, a mantra, a new-fangled idea? What could They possibly mean by Just Be and how am I supposed to write about it?
No, I’m not going zen. This is just a part of my shamanic re-education that I wanted to share with you.
Lets do an exercise. Close your eyes and imagine yourself at 80. Now ask yourself the following question: when I am 80, will this thing I am sooo stressed about right now matter to me at all? Will we care that we couldn’t afford the latest clothes or that we were 5/10/30/100 pounds overweight? Will it matter that we rented instead of owned a house or that the car wasn’t cutting edge? Will our video game achievements still excite us? Will our worries and excuses and stress still seem significant? Another blog I am avidly reading puts it this way: can you live without it? Is that thing that you are obsessing over something that you can be just fine without?
And the reality is, there is no right or wrong answer here. It doesn’t matter if we say no to something, nor make us a better person in saying yes. This isn’t an exercise in judgement, but an honest look at our lives. We are trained to want, to think we need, to desire and covet. How many have ever tried to convince a teenager that they could live without the latest and greatest? Its not true, their lives don’t end just because you refuse to buy them a $200 phone. Once upon a time human lives really did depend on what they could or could not live without. That plow, that second horse, that new axe meant the difference between surviving a winter and perishing. But that’s not the case anymore.
So in the middle of the hustle and bustle and stress and 9 to 5 and commutes and soccer and dance lessons and dinner on the stove, Just Be. Let the world pass through you. Become an observer. This isn’t a meditation thing, we aren’t stilling the mind. The goal here is to become impartial and no longer emotionally attached to the stress of the moment. Stress and emotions are inherently tied to the moment, and when we take that step back, we can begin to see the threads that keep us forever bound in the cycle.
We can watch a horror movie and laugh because its not our danger. We can gossip about a coworker because its not our pain or failing. But most of the time we are so deep in our emotions that we can’t see how fleeting this moment actually is. There is stuff worthy of emotions. But your stupid job or that fight with your SO? Will that matter when you are 80?
I stand at the sink and wash dishes and practice Just Be. I acknowledge the cat who is twining around my ankles, convinced she is starving. I watch the moths who have invaded my home in the last few weeks dance around the light source. I listen to the boyfriend play World of Warcraft in the other room. And I start to see the patterns of happy, the things that are a blessing in my life. I used to do this as a meditation at work, stand at the sink, repeat “I am blessed because of…” and watch the stress drop away. Now I don’t say the words, I just exist within the moment and watch the world run fast paced past me. I won’t die because I refuse to keep up. When my mother won’t stop nagging me about how much we spent on our new car, I can chose to see her for who she is and I end up smiling, because its a play and she still thinks people are watching.
We get so caught up in the emotions, the depression, the love, the lust, the anger. We get trapped like fish in a net and then flail, crying, that we can’t get out.
What happens when we stop and allow ourselves to Just be?
The current carries us forward into freedom.