I was 16 or 17 when it occurred to me we are always doing. I was a new driver waiting at a stoplight, the sun was beating down, I looked around and noticed movement everywhere. Nothing was stopping. Cars moving in either direction, lights turning, people walking across the street, a train going by, people fidgeting in their cars, a breeze blowing, birds flying by – you get the picture. I was an island in the middle of all this movement and I realized “nothing really stops.”
We’re taught at an early age we need to always be doing and not being. If we’re not doing then we’re told we’re lazy. Which is untrue – there is a difference between being and being lazy. I found great comfort when John Kabat-Zinn wrote a whole section about this, in his book, Full Catastrophe Living. We’ve become a society that is constantly on. We don’t really make time to turn off, other than when we sleep. We have disconnected from ourselves because we’re always doing. We never stop.
We can reconnect with ourselves if we get into the practice of turning off and allowing ourselves to just be. What if we spent 20 minutes a day, just being? When we set aside time to just be, our bodies cannot thank us enough. If we fully immerse in our bodies, and we turn off everything around us to focus on right now, concentrate on our breath and our body and immerse in the stillness, then we naturally connect with ourselves.
I recommend giving this a shot, a couple of times a week and see how you feel. Try this without judgment or expectations and allow yourself to turn off and just be. Start by, turning your phone to silent – not vibrate, setting the timer for 20 minutes, sitting in a comfortable place, closing your eyes, and focusing on your breath as you inhale and exhale. You can even repeat in your head, “in,” “out,” with each breath, or “peace” on the inhale, and “joy” on the exhale. As you’re focusing on the breath notice how good it feels to relax your mind and your body without any outside distractions and just be.
Let me know how you felt – if 20 minutes seems too much at first, try 10 minutes and increase it from there.