“To be, or not to be.”
That is, in fact, the question. Hamlet, of course, was defining being as living, so when he asked this question he was asking whether it was better to be alive or not. To me that point is moot since I believe that we ARE, and will continue to BE forever. In this respect, I’m a bit of Buddhist – I don’t believe that our existence begins at conception and ends with death – but that’s a topic for a different time perhaps, and one that bears no weight on what I’m actually here to talk about which is…
BEING as an effortless state.
A state grounded in PRESENCE, in the NOW, unburdened by any regrets or resentments founded in the past and likewise unburdened by any expectations bound to the future.
BEING, as opposed to DOING.
A state wherein we are focused on experiencing the present as opposed to getting things done in an effort to BECOME.
BEING as opposed to “worrying,” “struggling,” or “trying” which suggest that we are not yet good enough to be who we want to BE and thus must continue to strive to BECOME more.
BEING as an authentic expression of self free of judgement which recognizes our immense potential – I AM! – and a state wherein we are not easily affected by the thoughts and opinions of others, wherein our sense of self is grounded in our joy, in our lust for life, and not in how others perceive us.
BEING as an empowered and enlightened state of awareness founded in the belief that we are enough, that who we are is enough; enough for us and enough for others.
BEING. As in HUMAN BEING. Not Human Doing, not Human Thinking, not Human Working or Human Trying or Human Judging or even Human Falling Short Of Their Expectations. Just Human BEING. Because that is what we are.
Some people call this state Zen, others call it Flow, still others call it Mindfulness or Presence. For me, it’s just BEING. It’s effortlessly existing as we are, as what’s left of us when we shed away shame, judgment, expectation, regret, resentment, and all of the unhelpful things that we learned. Because we were not born with those things, we learned them. And just as they were learned, they can be unlearned.
“To BE or NOT to BE; that is the question.”
To BE who you really are, authentically and courageously. To embrace your immeasurable potential. To leave behind that which dulls your brilliance and to dare to stand in your own light.
To Not. To be self-conscious. To be afraid. To be less than everything you really are. To be silenced. To be unsatisfied. To be angry. To be unfulfilled.
THIS is what I’ve been mulling over since I found myself high on BEING this past Friday. Granted, it wasn’t the first time that I felt the rush of presence and self-acceptance, but it was the first time in a long while and it got me wondering, “Why now? What have I been doing differently?” And then it hit me; I haven’t really being doing anything different, but I most definitely have been thinking differently.
For starters, I’ve spent much of the past two weeks paying very close attention to my thoughts and actions and asking, “where is this thought coming from?” and “why are you really doing this?” It all started two weeks ago when my relationship came to a rather abrupt end. My first instinct was to rationalize myself into being OKAY. When that didn’t work, I started listening to what my “not okayness” was telling me and I realized that it was saying, “you feel stupid and ashamed and not enough.” From there I started examining why I was feeling stupid, ashamed, and not enough and down the rabbit hole of self-reflection I went. Deeper than I normally do. Deeper than is comfortable. Nerves were hit. Hurt was uncovered. Many tears were shed. Epiphanies were had.
Then, after much digging through the less pleasant corners of my thoughts, I saw them, my limiting beliefs: You’re stupid. You’re not enough. There’s something wrong with you. But more than just seeing them, I saw exactly where they came from and how untrue they really are which in turn allowed me to see myself more clearly: I am smart, I am strong, I am resilient, I am no more and no less flawed than everyone else. And this is where the magic really started, because once I saw my limiting beliefs and realized that they were bullshit, I couldn’t NOT see them anymore, nor could I continue to let them keep me from being who I really am.
All last week whenever a pang of doubt, inhibition, or unfair self-judgement struck, I was almost immediately able to identify exactly where it was coming from and consequently to choose not to listen to it. No more doing things (or not) out of some misplaced fear of judgement or misplaced sense of obligation. Suddenly I could just BE, effortlessly and authentically. And so I was. And at the end of the fifth day of authentically being, I realized that I had had a perfect day. I had effortlessly done everything that I had wanted to do. I had been exactly who I like being. My only regret as I crawled into bed at 1:30AM was that I was tired and had to sleep, and my only fear was that when I woke up the next day the electric buzz of BEING would be gone.
It did however short-circuit midway through the day when something threw me out of my bliss and back into a moment of guilt, shame, and self-judgement. That day was not a perfect day. I fell short of doing the things I wanted to do and I was not the person that I like being. By 9PM I could hear my negative self-talk whispering; “You’re stupid,” I heard, “what’s wrong with you?” I thought my short lived bliss was gone for good, but then I remembered who I really AM. “You’re not stupid,” I thought, “and there’s nothing wrong with you. You just let yourself feel shame and guilt about what you wanted and you let that guilt manifest as indecision because you’d rather be indecisive than feel guilty, and then you let that indecision keep you from authentic action which is why it’s 9PM and nothing has gone according to plan. It’s okay. You’re human. Next time, just leave the guilt behind.”
And as I drove home that night, windows down and music turned up, I found my bliss again.
“So that’s the trick,” I thought. “Just recognize the limiting belief, figure out where it’s coming from, and then acknowledge that it’s not truth.”
Huh. Go figure.
It is, of course, easier said than done. And it took a lot of self-reflection over the past few years to get me to this seemingly simple realization. Like everything else, though, it all goes into the “life experience” drawer and I’m excited to be able to more clearly and effectively support my clients now that I’ve remembered how to BE, effortlessly.
So, my dear, I ask you, do you want to BE or NOT to BE?