When is the last time you just let yourself “be”? We live in a culture that judges us on our activity levels, on what we do, and who we are. That “who we are” in our society is usually a career label. The hierarchy of careers is ingrained in most of us from an early age. Economically, we reward persons for their work in certain fields over others.
When is the last time you felt valued for just “be-ing” you? How many situations do you experience where what you do for a living is not known, asked, or valued? In some European countries, it is considered rude to ask an acquaintance, “What do you do for a living?” How refreshing it might be to accept others, to know others, for who they are as an individual without career identification.
Labels identify us. Sometimes sharing a label such as “survivor” can unite us in community. Sometimes identification tags limit us. We become the label. We forget, or never even realize, how much more we are or can be; or, we never ever met the criterion for the label to start.
I am too hard on myself … still. That awareness led me to spend today just “be-ing”. I push myself too hard. I tend to expect more out of myself than what is healthy. It is a defect that I am working to change. To just “be” takes constant reminders. Oh, I’ll still complete tasks today … in a gentle, compassionate mode.
You see, I grew up trying to please my abusers and all authority figures. Maybe, most probably, I thought if I did everything they wanted and did it perfectly, I would be liked or loved (and the abuse would stop). As a child, it was easier to place the blame and fault of the abuse in my tiny hands. As a child, it was hard to accept that my mother (and others) would abuse me; and, that it was not my fault. So, I grew up working extremely hard … trying to be perfect …
Now as an adult who is free from all my past abusers, I am aware how hard I drive myself. For decades, I would work hard; and, only when the work was done for that day did I relax. It is as though I did not deserve relaxation and happiness unless I put in time accomplishing chores or whatever the work that day. Doing that is not a healthy, kind way to live my daily life. Life is work; and, that work is never-ending for many of us. To wait until work is finished to enjoy my time on this earth is a mistake I have made for much too long. Happiness is found amidst the work throughout the day.
Gratefully, for some unknown reason, in one area of my life I did not and do not live in that manner. That arena is motherhood. As I raised my daughter, Megan, homeschooled her, protected her as long as I was able, re-connected with her after our separation due to the courts, and the connection with Megan now, I was mainly and am now present. For some reason unknown to me, I could “be” with Megan. During her early years, I would enjoy fully those times of playing with her. As Megan grew, I was able to share in all her development milestones with joy and laughter. With gratitude, I was present to share in Megan’s joys and sorrows as a growing child turned teenager. Oh, my heart is heavier when I think of the years I missed with her.
Why is it that I could “be” with Megan? Why is it that I can still “be” with Megan when I speak with her on the phone and see her in person? I do not know the answers. I live in the mystery and dwell in gratitude.
Who can you “be” with? When you are able to live more fully the person you are? How can you and I learn to “be” more than not no matter whom we are with and if we are alone.
Close your eyes. Breathe …. In … Out … Find your natural breathing rhythm. Just “be”. Thoughts float in and away. Feel your body touching the chair and your feet touching the floor. Breathe. As I write this, white clouds of all shapes and forms are mixed in with a light blue sky. The wind is blowing the new green leaves and branches of the trees. Beauty is around me and within me. Notice the beauty within yourself.
Just “be” ……………………….