Why is it So Hard to Be?Posted February 18, 2013 by Moragh Lippert
Why does it seem so counter intuitive to do nothing; to just be? To let go of the feeling of needing to do more. Why is it so hard to carve out time in the day for reflection and self care? As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Reiki Master and Meditation Teacher I know self care and nurturing is critical for harmony and balance of body, mind and spirit. Yet it can be so challenging to do. Do you find it challenging to carve out space for yourself and to just “be”?
Our society seems to measure success in terms of constantly working, achievement of goals, multi tasking, change, and always being on the go. I don’t know about you, but my mind seems to constantly focus on the future; the next thing on the “to do” list. And when I invariably don’t achieve these things there is a sense of failure, anxiety and disappointment. Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why is it so tough to live in the now? Why don’t we allow spaciousness for just “being” in our calendar? Why is it so challenging to justify activities that support health and harmony including: mindful and nutritious eating, healthful exercise, nurturing relationships with family and friends, connecting with nature, meditation, prayer, reflection or just doing what feeds our spirit.
I recently attended a 7 day silent Insight Meditation retreat. I have attended a number of these and am familiar with the program and benefits. There is always a “settling in” period of a couple days. Eventually the mind starts to calm as the meditative practice grows stronger and outside stimulation is reduced. This year the “settling in” period was the entire retreat! Why was it so difficult for the mind to slow down?
Everyone’s life is full of change and this challenges our ability to remain steady. Perhaps my inability to settle at retreat was because of transition in my life. Healthy transitions can also be unnerving. For the last 2.5 years I have been on a journey to “follow my bliss” (Joseph Campbell) and have changed my vocation, residence and marital status. At the time of the retreat I had just started dating a wonderful man. This new relationship offered (and continues to offer) much love, joy and the opening of fragile hearts. It is exciting and wonderful to be newly in love but also a bit unbalancing.
Undoubtedly some of my inability to be present was also due to being caught up in the frenetic collective energy of “doing”. This energy of “doing” always seems to be there; a constant undercurrent that waxes and wanes in intensity.
Everything and everyone is connected. We are mirrors of our world and each other. This “doing” energy it is not only “out there” but within. If we can be conscious and kind in our approach to ourselves and others while working with this energy, we all benefit. This is a lesson on how to compassionately hold space for self and others in this frenetic world.
Self care and slowing down has been particularly challenging this winter as I healed from a virus for 2 months. Feeling poorly has been a great teacher in the importance of taking a step back and focusing on nurturing me. Sometimes our bodies just say “enough” and stops us in our tracks. The main thing is to listen to what the body is saying and allow it to guide.
Many days, it is a struggle to “be”; to gracefully go with the flow of life while being kind and patient with myself and practice self love. My best tool is the cornerstone of Insight Meditation: to be aware of the effects of the heart/mind state on the body and approach the bodily experience with love and compassion.
By following the pillars of holistic nutrition including self care and a regular meditation practice you can greatly enhance your health of body, and spirit.
Here is a brief mediation that I hope can help you with the transition from Doing to Being (approximately 3 minutes):
When you sense you are becoming unbalanced by the energy of DOING, pause. Physically move away from your current task. Take a step outdoors or go into another room. Sit with your feet on the ground and feel the steadiness of Mother Earth beneath you. If you can, go outside and stand with your back against a tree feeling its grounding energy. Allow your awareness to rest with your body. Sense what is going on with love and compassion. Be with whatever you are feeling, if you can, with spaciousness. Take 5-10 deep breaths and just be. Thank yourself for taking the time to “be” and be grateful to your lovely body for guiding you.General