Funnily enough, today I was browsing through Richard Branson’s website and some of his articles on happiness caught my eye. Whilst I am obviously nowhere near as successful as him (and one might say, being rich makes you happy), what he says resonates with my current state of mind. I was surprised to find inspiration in such an unlikely place, yet his blog is full of positive messages.
“Kids are often asked: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ The world expects grandiose aspirations: ‘I want to be a writer, a doctor, the prime minister.’ They’re told: go to school, go to college, get a job, get married, and then you’ll be happy. But that’s all about doing, not being– and while doing will bring you moments of joy, it won’t necessarily reward you with lasting happiness.
Stop and breathe. Be healthy. Be around your friends and family. Be there for someone, and let someone be there for you. Be bold. Just be for a minute.” [Richard Branson]
The words that stayed with me: being and doing. This seems to be my theme for this week, as I wrote about it on Monday too.
I’ve heard them before connected with the practice of mindfulness that promotes the idea is of ‘doing’ less, and ‘being’ more.
In any case, I went on a search with Google to see what the internet thinks “just be” might mean. The results were varied: names of songs and albums, women’s development programmes, online gift stores… but nothing revealing about the meaning of those 2 small words…
Ok, so another search “just be meaning” revealed a few more interesting results. A blog post by Shari Daniels mentioned four definitions of just being, which suit different times and contexts. The one that sits well with me in my present state of mind is her 4th definition:
“To be present in every moment of your life. If someone is speaking to you, stop what you are doing and fully listen. BE in the moment. If you are watching tv or a movie, BE there to feel the characters/people you are watching, connect to them. If you are eating, savor your food, eat slow, be grateful for the nourishment. This means shutting off your phone just to Just Be with the act of what you are doing.”
I am working towards ‘being‘ on a more long-term basis; where I am present and in the moment most of the time, when I am not worrying about the past or the future, where I am paying attention to life that is happening in this moment.
But there I go again, planning ahead, worrying about the future, when really I should just be in this moment, letting the next word or phrase flow from my fingers…
Until next Thursday, I’ll be trying to “just be” when I can, in amongst the doing…