It’s not that there always needs to be a fixed destination. Life is about the journey, after all, so it is certainly both logical and even necessary that from time to time you walk a path, but the goal is not wholly clear.
Yes, it is important to have an idea, to have a plan. But sometimes there are days where you just are on the paths, walking along, and though you have an end goal in mind, it is far out of sight.
Like any good TV show with an over-arching plot, there will be episodes where the plot is very clearly being driven forward. But then, once in a while, they throw one in that just stands alone, but hardly touches the overall plot.
We all have days like this. Days where we just go. Doesn’t feel like we’re really moving along, per se, but there you are.
The thing is, this is perfectly normal. Every single day can be luminous and exciting and full of change and discovery and learning and growing. But then, some days, you simply be.
That’s the important takeaway here. I think that as a society we have forgotten how to simply BE. I mean, just in this moment, this very second sitting here reading these words, just BE.
What does that mean? That’s the part that has become rather ill-defined, I think. What does it mean to just be?
First – it means rather than looking back where you came from, or looking ahead to where you are going, you just relish the here-and-now. Live in the moment, be completely present at this very juncture, and experience what’s going on around you.
We give surprisingly little attention to the here and now. How often do we coast through our day, focused on deadlines and after-work or after-school plans, or meals, or watching the show later, or even snuggling in bed with a pet or book or loved one?
Where are you, right now as you read this? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you smell? What are you sensing in your immediate surroundings? Is this a familiar, regular place where you spend a great deal of your time? What are you currently thinking? What are you currently feeling?
It amazes me how easy it is to be caught up in what’s next more than what’s now. As I am typing out these words, I am playing my favorite Writer’s mix off iTunes. The allergy med I took hasn’t kicked in yet, so I’m sniffling a bit. I smell the coffee I brewed. The sky is getting brighter as the sun is coming up over the trees outside, which are either colorful, or leafless as autumn is winding down. I am wearing my favorite flannel shirt, which is so very soft. I am feeling content, contemplative, and empowered as I work.
That was a moment in time where I allowed myself to simply be. I looked around my desk and the room and soaked it in and relished that moment. It was nothing profound or earth-shattering, it just was a moment I was being.
Yes, I need to finish this up so I can jump in the shower, get my lunch prepped and head off to work. I’ll contend with the usual traffic, and I know that there are a number of things on my plate that need to be taken care of throughout the day. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t take time to enjoy moments of just being.
When we become completely conscious of where we ARE, versus getting caught up in where we were and where we need to be or where we are going, we will actually struggle less with stress and anxiety because we better connect with ourselves. Thinking too much on the past or too far into the future disempowers us, because we allow ourselves to get lost in regrets, concerns, second-guessing actions and choices we have made or are making.
Lao Tzu is credited with saying, “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” I find that when I take the time to BE, in the present, I get a much better handle on depression and anxiety. I become truly empowered to see the world around me in this moment, and bask in the glory of being.
I am alive. I have a job, I have a roof over my head. I have loved ones and acquaintances and animals to share my being with. I am not my past, I am not my future, I am me, here and now, as I am. This is both unbelievably simple to grasp, and yet surprisingly complicated to accept sometimes.
The other cool thing about just being, I find, is this: Take a moment to look around you. Really look around your space. Don’t just use your eyes, use all of your senses. See if you can find something you have not noticed before. It doesn’t have to be grand, it could be a splotch on the wall, a color in a print you previously just glanced over, the writing on a pen. This might be something that has been there all along, for days or weeks or even years, but in the here and now you are finding something new about it.
That is what makes just being so powerful. When we are present, in the moment, there are unexpected wonders to discover. When we simply be, we are completely empowered, and we gain insight that will ultimately benefit the paths we are walking.
Do you see how empowering simply ‘being’ can be?
GOAL LOG – Week 42:
Diet: Still going pretty well. I still need to work on portions, however.
Exercise: Fencing happened three times last week, and I got to the gym twice.
Writing: Just the three blogs got written. I really need to give more time to this particular habit.
Meditation: I meditated only on 3 days, at least 4 minutes each day.
Gratitude: I wrote five things I was grateful for five days last week, and six things once.
This is the two-hundred fifty-second entry in my series. These weekly posts are ideas and my personal experiences in walking along the path of life. I share this journey as part of my desire to make a difference in this world along the way.
Thank you for joining me. Feel free to re-blog and share.
The first year of Pathwalking, including some expanded ideas, is available here.
If you enjoy Pathwalking, you may also want to read my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better.