Being Present in Life
One of the most difficult aspects of living, is, ironically, just ‘BEING’. We are all so busy most of the time, with jobs, family, friends, appointments, cleaning, sorting—whatever—that we can forget to ‘BE’. It feels so good to slow down, relax, rest, watch tv, read a book, and then, yet, we can still not really just ‘BE’. We’re relaxing, but not ‘BE-ing’ in any Buddhist, yoga, or Zen sense of the word.
If you try meditation, you learn how to be in the moment much more, but, even then, thoughts can come and go. Enter the ‘chattering monkey’ going on and on with random words. At that time it’s necessary to remember to let the thoughts flow by, invite them in for a cup of tea but do NOT ask them to move in with you. Just like lovely friends and relatives—perhaps good for a visit but not for a two-week stay. That’s why I love going for a massage so much (if I don’t talk), I can slowly feel my body’s muscles taking over, giving in to letting the stress go, and then totally just ‘be’. That’s when I float above everything.
I’m on holiday right now, in a fairly remote place, with only the sea to look at. Sounds idyllic, right? Well, it is, and it’s also a forced ‘BE-ing’ since there’s really nowhere to go and not much to do. After reading 3 books of fiction, a delightful escape for my mind, I’m now really only beginning to ‘be’. I can watch the sunrise, focus on a wave coming ashore, and see the surf break over the coral in the distance. It’s so remote and quiet that I hardly know ‘what to do with myself’. I’m forced into BE-ing and it’s not as easy as it sounds. Ironically, I’m in a rented house and the owner, who I’ve never met, is a Reiki teacher and spiritual healer. So if anywhere should have the ‘BE’ vibe it’s here. I look at her books, all on healing; I listen to her music, and absorb the wonderful sensibility of the space. And yet, I’m so relaxed that I can hardly ‘BE’. Shouldn’t I be writing? Planning something? Creating my next business? Growing in my personal evolution by leaps and bounds? Should I try my hand at a short story, a self-help book( check out a list of great self help books here) , a new play? Maybe it’s time to write to all the people I’ve let slip by in the last year?
No, it’s time to meditate and ‘BE’. Breathe in, breathe out, be conscious, watch my breath, listen to my heartbeat. This is not the usual vacation with lots to do, or even to explore. There is no nightlife, no all-inclusive performance to watch, no TV. It’s quiet is broken only by the rooster in the morning, the wind through the trees, or the rainfall in the night. There’s beauty all around me and I’m ‘BE’ing as much as I can. Watching the sun glisten on the wet leaves, seeing the birds fly and the butterflies flitter, I’m almost relaxed into boredom. But not quite. I have a lot of hard work to do still.
I have to just ‘BE’.
BE-ing Present tips:
- If you can go on a vacation, great. A change is as good as a rest, but not if you are racing around. Build in some ‘down time’ to all of the activity.
- Many people can’t take the time or spend the money on a holiday. Try putting on some soothing music for 30 minutes between the dishes, emails and getting to bed.
- So many of us have chosen showers over baths. Yet, if you can, soaking in a tub by candlelight can soothe tired muscles and be very relaxing.
- Is there a meal you don’t need to cook? I have a friend who now ‘assembles’ more than she cooks—some wholewheat pita, hummus, olives, and sliced tomatoes can be one easy ‘assembled’ meal.
- We do it automatically, of course, but slowing it down to 6 long breaths, hold for 6 and exhale for 6 can be the start of just ‘BE-ing’ and starting to relax more. ( Check out the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing)
- Get a good massage therapy treatment. Massage therapy can help you Be at one with your body. When you are extremely busy, or stressed, it’s easy to ignore what your body is trying to tell you. Over time this can cause you to disassociate from your body, meaning you wont feel the warning signs of injury or disease. Massage therapy help you reconnect with your body through the sense of touch, making you aware of problem areas, as well as relaxing your body and mind. This help you Be more present in your body.
Reva Nelson is a freelance writer, speaker and coach. Her latest book is a memoir, ‘
Hippie Chick Abroad’, available through amazon.ca