So many of us are raised to believe that hard work is what makes us valuable. I don’t come from a highly driven background, but my family had circumstances that conspired to make me believe that my value was absolutely dependent on my contribution, my performance and my action. With this deeply held universal belief system, how can self worth interact with “just being”?
“The “just” in front of the “being” – assumes that being is something passive and empty“
When we think our self worth comes from the doing rather than the being, we become disconnected with ourselves, with others and with the world around us. Part of what is wrong about it is not just the idea that it’s only through hard work or through work and action that we become worthy and valuable, but that just being – the “just” in front of the “being” – assumes that being is something passive and empty. This is counter-intuitive when being is also about presence – our presence in the world, our presence to others, our presence towards our families, which is, moment by moment, active and powerful.
The beauty of letting things be
“One must not always think so much about what one should do, but rather what one should be.” – Meister Eckhart
One of the beautiful things in Meister Eckhart’s writings, is the idea of letting things be. So many of us worry about what we should be doing, or how we should be working. For Eckhart, none of this matters. His belief is that the most important thing to focus on is how we should be, that is really mindfulness in presence. When we are being rather than doing he says, we “become enveloped in it so that it extends us and deepens us.” I needed to hear that, and perhaps you do too.
Eckhart also shares the lovely idea of gelassenheit. Gelassen is German for calmness. He describes that even when things go against us and the rhythm of our lives takes us to awkward and lonely places, we can still maintain a stillness which is in our souls. So, there is wisdom in maintaining stillness in our souls, and just letting things be.
Being kind to ourselves
In the words of the late poet and philosopher John O’Donohue, “be exceedingly kind to yourself.” For many of us, myself included, this is not a place we tend to go to naturally or were taught to go. Being kind to ourselves takes practice. And here’s the thing. Practicing the work of being exceedingly kind to ourselves is being and this honours the complexity of being. Moving through these uncertain times; this is also being. And it is this being that’s going to shape our presence to ourselves, our presence to others and ultimately will help us to cultivate depth, calmness and resilience for the road ahead. Perhaps one of the unexpected experiences of this crisis will be the value of our presence in each other’s lives, the value of care and care-giving, as parents, as spouses, as neighbours, using what we already have; with what we already are.
Connecting to our resources
Connecting to resources that helps us to be is essential right now. In the midst of this huge shift we must find ways to stay grounded, present and in our bodies. Here, I’m sharing 6 go-to resources that help me to step into a place of being rather than doing. These are the ones that I’ll continue to turn to whilst we are in this collective pause, and beyond.
Palo Santo + meditation or breath work
I love to burn Palo Santo incense or white sage in the mornings as I jump into a daily meditation or breath work practice. They are both known in the sacred plant world to clear the mind, body, spirit and home from negative energy and help me to stay present and grounded at the start of the day. For me, being present is about becoming aware of what I’m feeling and what I’m experiencing. Meditation and breath work are ways that help me become aware of thoughts and emotions bubbling at the surface. I use both practices to release obstructing thoughts and come back to the now.
Journalling following a meditation practice helps me to organise my mind and process my emotions. On days when I struggle to know what to write, I sit for 10 minutes and write a stream of consciousness without stopping. I’m always amazed at what comes up.
Keeping going with a gratitude practice helps me to shift my perspective and focus on the good in front of me in each moment. Taking a pause in the day to acknowledge what I am grateful for moves my energy in a deep way. In the midst of all that is going on right now, it reminds me that this too shall pass.
A short gratitude exercise :
- What are 3 things I’m thankful for in my life today?
- Who are 3 people I’m thankful in my life today?
- Who are 3 people I will reach out to today with a message of gratitude?
Too much past or future thinking tends to block my energy. Getting out of my head and into my body by doing a home yoga or Pilates practice, or any physical practice that helps to connect me to my body works.
Connect to nature
Nature has an amazing, life-enhancing energy. Simply going outside and planting my bare feet to the earth helps me to feel grounded. I try to go outside every day and let my body attune to the frequency of the earth and breathe slowly, taking time to experience the beauty in nature.
Phones and other digital devices are all major energy drains and can keep us distracted. When I’m putting forth a conscious effort to take time for myself, it means putting away my phone. Choosing to leave my phone in another room while I honour this time is important. The more away from the screen I am, the more present I feel.
What resources are supporting you right now? How are you staying present? I would love to know how you are resourcing yourself these days. Please feel free to comment below so we can support each other or drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.