Learning how to Be
Daydreaming gets a bad rep. I'm into the idea of celebrating daydreams!
Daydreaming -or pausing -or loafing around -or liming (as we say in the eastern Caribbean) -or mindlessly staring into space is where the best magic happens, in my humble opinion.
It´s where we get a chance to create space for inspiration to strike. It´s offering an opportunity for those *insert Alan Partridge voice* ah-ha moments to happen. It´s an opportunity for us to rest - and to heal. It´s a vital moment of stillness between an often chaotic traffic jam of busy. It´s an opportunity to practice being present.
Most of the time we´re occupying a mode located in the future or past. Doing to get somewhere. Or to run from someplace else. I´m interested in the Being.
But it´s not as though Western society encourages us to daydream, or pause, or take space.
Especially if we´re busy! But in fact, that´s when it´s even more important!
When we´re in “busy” mode, we tend to be distant from ourselves. On our way to some other goal. Not present or receptive to what we need in any moment. The body has a good way of letting us know though, it´s communicating with us all the time. A good example is a hungry tummy rumble. I bow to the grumble of the tummy and adorn it with fuel (pie, ideally) whenever this happens! But perhaps when we´re busy, we get into a habit of ignoring the signals - we´re disconnected. We might push through barriers, sacrificing our basic needs - hands up who held their loo break just so they could send that "very important" email? ...too much info?
So how do we make Being a regular friend - and most importantly, sustainable and relevant to us?
Being might look like checking in. You can do that right now! How are you? Observe what you´re doing in this moment as you read these words. Your posture. Where there might be tension in the body. Check in with your jaw. The muscles around your eyes. Your belly. Can they soften a little? Less doing? More softening? How are you breathing? Are you breathing in a way that feels spacious? Breath affects everything. Mood. Physicality. Energy. Can you breathe in a way that feels even more supportive? If it feels appropriate - hopefully you´re not driving as you´re reading this (!) - try closing your eyes for a moment. Tune in. Without feeling there´s a goal or a need to be like anything, or for there to be a destination to get to. For a moment, just tune in and listen.
Being might be hearing that you could use some more time for yourself in the day. Or even a day off. Or longer.
Being might be eating your next meal mindfully, in full presence appreciating every morsel. Rather than scoffing all that plantain in one gulp and getting a tummy ache because you didn´t chew, Dionne (..."take care of chew!" - that was Ketil!).
Being might be watching Modern Family (yeah i´m watching them all again because they are excellent joy-cringe fests!) absorbed in each moment as it happens. No where else to be. Nothing to do. Just to be.
Being might be letting ourselves feel. To process however we need to. In this situation, Being turns into doing when we spiral down a road that attaches meaning to a feeling. That somehow feeling something is equated to defining how you are as a person. That´s simply not true. Feeling and being present with your feelings is really healthy. If you´re working on this one, explore how you can be more compassionate with yourself and the way that you feel. And remember that no feeling is static, even if it feels that way. Reach out and get yourself some support if you feel stuck. That´s a great way of using the practice of presence to lead to a positive action of doing!
Being might be immersing yourself in art or some kind of practice that commands your presence. Lately, i´ve been practicing writing my Morning Pages in joined up writing - do you know how hard it is to write joined up when you´re 36 years old?! I have vague memories of chalk and blackboards and curly k´s in the 80s and this is turning into a massive digression..... My point: handwriting and focussing on each letter is a marvellous way of practicing being in the moment!
Being need not be this etherial distant notion. This unachievable “spiritual sounding” thing that has nothing to do with us. We´re human (beings). We are meant to do just that!
So what does Being look like for you?
And finally, if you´re struggling with this stuff because, you know, life is hella busy, here´s a blog post i wrote just for you: Stop the glorification of busy, please!”.
Be well. Be.
illustration by Akujixxv