Just Be

by Belinda Munoz on February 25, 2010

just be

Everything has been figured out, except how to live. ~Jean-Paul Sartre

There’s no shortage of advice for how we should live our lives.  Fortunes have exchanged hands over crass commercialism, overt advertising or subliminal messages, pushing an agenda, luring us into traps that make us think we need fixing.

Friends, family, strangers, corporations, political parties and paid professionals will tell us to:

Be happy.

Be free.

Be productive.

Be conscious.

Be thin.

Be healthy.

Work hard.

Work less.

Work smart.

Live green.

Live more.

Do less.

Do something.

Do more.

Play hard.

Drink wine.

Eat vegetables.

Drive a hybrid.

Buy an iPad.

Move on.

Hold on.

Give in.

Let go.

Or worse, they’ll ask questions we can’t answer like:

How are you feeling?

What do you want?

What are you worried about?

Why do you think that is?

What can you do about that?

Why not follow your passion?

What are you doing with your life?

If we trust the source, if the message is presented convincingly, if we’re unsure of ourselves, we heed the advice.

Thus, we begin to think that our lives could be better, should be better.

It doesn’t sound so bad.

Except it suggests that life isn’t so good at this moment.

Is that what we want?

Or wouldn’t we rather be still, feel or not feel any feelings, think or not think any thoughts, while everything and everyone rushed on around us?

Because there are times when we need not do or become.

Because oftentimes, there’s nothing wrong with us.

Because sometimes, the time is right to just be.

May you live every day of your life. ~Jonathan Swift

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Are there times when you want to just be?  Are we sometimes too hung up on doing and becoming?

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Image by alicepopkorn

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Celeste February 25, 2010 at 9:03 am

I love this. There is no answer. Or, rather, the answer is all of the above. Work hard, be productive, be happy, just be. I guess the thing is to figure out what combination of work, play, and peaceful solitude will result in happiness. Too bad there is not a standard formula, a magical one-size-fits-all approach. The internal tug-of-war is sometimes too much for me to endure and is often the product of both too many and not enough opportunities.

By the way, just discovered your blog today from a comment you left yesterday on Ivy League Insecurities. Your writing is beautiful. I will be checking in regularly 🙂 Thank you for your insight.

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2 Justin Dixon February 25, 2010 at 9:53 am

This is a tough one to balance. You must absolutely let yourself be and appreciate yourself as you are, but people have a need to move forward. We have a need to push past our limits, and we have a need to try to become more. Yes we are already sacred as we are, and if nothing else changes we would still be perfect as we are. We still need that drive though. Not because it will make us better, but because we need to push to become who we really are.

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3 Eva February 25, 2010 at 10:28 am

Really excellent reminder, Belinda. As I read this post, I found myself taking a deep breath – one way to “just be” and re-center yourself. With each long exhale, I imagine letting go of all the little things I’m worrying about.

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4 Phil - Less Ordinary Living February 25, 2010 at 11:02 am

Hi Belinda –

You keep on getting better and better. I love the quotes at beginning and end. It is so true that there are a million voices and questions out there (including mine!) that we are bombarded by. Sometimes to accept that we are already in a great place and savour that is really important. Its funny that my latest post is about stopping trying so hard! Thanks as always – you are a ray of light in the world.

Phil

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5 Bob Bessette February 25, 2010 at 3:02 pm

I hear ya Belinda. I find myself always wanting to grow in some way and improve at all times. I see people, especially in the blogging world, overworking to get to that success point in life. Just be? What a concept. I think we should all pick a day of the week where we just be. Maybe then, we could more easily deal with all of the rushing the rest of the week.

Best,
Bob

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6 Patty - Why Not Start Now? February 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Here, here, Belinda! I raise a glass (maybe filled with good-for-us wine, maybe not) to you for reminding us all just to be. Chill for a bit. Pull back from all the shoulds and advice. Because really, as your post brings home, the onslaught is overwhelming. And lately I just wanna enjoy the ride. Let’s all enjoy the ride a bit more. Wouldn’t that be incredible?

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7 Belinda Munoz February 25, 2010 at 9:39 pm

@Celeste, welcome to The Halfway Point and thank you for your comment! Someone I admire said to me recently that if we’re awake and aware, life is overwhelming. We could really lose ourselves in all the pressure and hype or even the legitimate things we’re being wooed to buy into or get on board with. Messages coming at us 24/7. It’s so important to remember that we have a choice and when we need to, we are allowed to just be. Look forward to hearing from you again soon.

@Justin, welcome back, my friend. I agree it can be tough to balance but a little practice goes a long way. Over the years, I feel I’ve been able to steer in a direction away from “need-tos” and more toward “want-tos”.

@Eva, you keep coming back here with those centering words of yours! Love it!

@Phil, my buddy, I smiled when I read your post this morning. Nice to be in synch. You bring up a great point about recognizing when we’re in a great place and to be able to appreciate it. It’s a simple way to be kind to ourselves yet so many of us struggle with it when the shoulds won’t go away. Thanks for the compliment!

@Bob, my friend, I love that idea! You bring up a great point that we all want to grow and improve and the point many of us miss is that simply being is essential to growth.

@Patty, your wise words always add so much here. Cheers to eschewing the word “should” from our vocabulary and to enjoying the ride!

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8 BK February 26, 2010 at 2:19 am

Indeed, people are always ready to give advices and opinions. They may be well-meaning but often time they may prove to be more damaging to us. A lot of time we need to listen to our inner self and just be.

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9 Tony Single February 26, 2010 at 4:44 am

A friend of mine put it so beautifully the other day: “I just wish to be weak and happy for once.” I couldn’t agree more. Why do I have to BE something? I’m me. I can only ever be me. Doesn’t that mean anything?

And there’s the rub. Whenever the world and its relentless whirlwind of activity doesn’t validate me, I wonder what the point of being me is. Does everyone want me to just be unique in the same way as everyone else? My brain explodes.

Very thought provoking, B. I can already tell that I’ll be coming back here on a regular basis. Bravo! 🙂

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10 Linda Wolf February 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

Belinda,

Lovely poetic post, thank you. I struggle with being present because my mind is so active. I totally agree with your point that we are bombarded with messages to do, be, or have something MORE. My mind is tempted by these ideas, and I’m learning ways to disengage the mechanism. What’s working for me now is becoming aware of my mind state in all situations, and just observe, allow, accept. And then be open to something new, different to come to me, a way to be or do or think (or not think). And it’s working! By leaving space for messages to come to me (whether from other people, or what I call God, or even if it’s my inner self, I don’t really need to define or limit it), I get ideas for doing things differently. I’m also willing to try that new idea. So awareness, openness, and willingness are what is working for me right now. Thank you for the post.

Best,
Linda

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11 Belinda Munoz February 26, 2010 at 10:48 pm

@BK, thanks, as always, for your comment. It’s certainly nice to know that if we seek advice, we’ll get it. And getting it from a trusted source is better than getting it from paid advertisement or someone with a hidden agenda (i.e. cult leaders). But it’s important to remember that though we are constantly being targeted by anyone who’s selling an idea or a product. With sharpened awareness, we have within us the capacity to not react, to do nothing, especially if it’s a betrayal in any way of

@Tony, nice to see you here again. “Unique in the same way as everybody else” — oy, you’re making my head hurt :-). Come back often with that wit of yours (and feel free to post some of that awesome original art).

@Linda, it IS all so tempting! I want to do and become lots of things but, hello, I only have one lifetime as far as I know (makes me think of multiple life term sentences, I don’t know why). The words you choose — observe, allow, accept, awareness, openness, and willingness — very soothing. Thank you for the serenity-inducing words.

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12 Clau September 8, 2010 at 11:14 am

i want to JUST BE!!!
why is it so hard to just be what we are naturally?

Thanks for this post! 😉

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13 Belinda Munoz September 8, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Welcome to The Halfway Point, Clau! I think the key is to practice and to forgive ourselves if we slip. And, if we can remember that “to just be” is always a viable option, we should be just fine.

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