The first official post of a blog! WOW. I was brimming with ideas of what needed to be said. That was until I actually set up the blog. Then nothing, nada, zilch. Yelp! It’s not that I couldn’t put pencil to paper or rather finger to keyboard; there are so many competing thoughts that desperately need to be said but the timing of when to say them is tricky.
Trying to write a blog dedicated to positivity and being our best selves is hard when positivity is being swallowed by the negativity of the world. Every day is an unending newsfeed of troubles topped with problem and iced with chaos. At the risk of aging myself, I feel like ‘I am singing in the rain, singing in the rain. What a glorious feeling, I am happy again….” Problem arises when you are a choir of one. Do you sing anyway? Well my answer is an unequivocal yes! Eventually that tune becomes so catchy that others join in or the rain stops falling. Even if neither happens, I am comforted by how happy, happiness is. LOL. I will simply be happy waiting on the world to change.
For those who desperately want to be happy but are finding it difficult to navigate the route, I will share advice that I have given on a routine basis for years. I have never seen this advice fail and in fact have seen some pretty dramatic life changes as a result.
Here it is : Drum rollllllll please…..Learn to just be. That’s it? Yup!. Really? Yup!.
I can’t tell you how many people boast about carving out time in their days to “nurture” themselves. Whether it is through exercise, or going for mani/pedis, facials etc. Others tell me they journal daily or pray unceasingly. All of the above and more is Grrrreat! (cue Tony the Tiger) but how many of us can actually be quiet and alone without something, someone, or some activity filling the void? Do you need to have the TV , iTunes or the radio on in the background while you take that “relaxing bath”. Can quiet be found in your head without needing to go to Yoga class for someone else tell you when and how to breathe? is there truly any place or any time that you can simply be? To listen to and honor the voice of the Creator. Not to ask for anything, not even to praise or pray but simply to listen to what message the Universal Consciousness has for you?
From observation, I note that most people don’t understand how to listen or even why we should. We are simply using the time while another is speaking to frame our arguments. We tune in randomly to hear the break in sound which is our cue to start speaking. It’s the same with prayer. We pepper God with thousands of blessings, praises and prayer requests. we pray for the sick and shut in and the deaconess on the Mother Board. We thank God for this, that and the other and we ask him to keep blessing us and if he would help with our fallen world. We ask the whys, Then when we should get a response, we simply say “Amen” and rise, secure in the knowledge that we have praised today! This is where the Buddhists will chime in about the value of meditation and contemplation. On my travels, I note a significant amount of worship intertwined in the average lives of people. That worship also seemed to be filled with relentless activity. Incense to be bought and burned, fish to be bought and released in homage, Chants and forehead touching to floor. Asanas to hold and Pranayama to learn, Prostration before images or towards a city a prescribed number of times a day, Public calls to prayer, Infidel to defeat and numerous requests made. There seems to be little time to hear the answer from the Most High to any of the whirlwind of activity and requests. My non believer readers are so busy making idols of their non belief that they too are congested with activity. Silence seems to be threatening and contemplative silence even more so. Filling our lives with words and movement and activity and sound…. Aaaaaah! Now that’s familiar. I feel motivated and accomplished and ”WOMAN; hear me roar” once I have stuffed my bag full of must dos and actually checked off a few. If I get through my entire list of to dos, I must be #winning.
I contend that until we consciously let go of some of the activity that consumes us and the sound that engulfs us, until we learn to just be; Sit, stand or lie with our thoughts and listen to Life speak. Until then happiness will be an illusion we chase, sometimes grasp but inevitably lose. That elusive, ephemeral state will slip from our grasps, leaving emptiness in its wake. After all, how do you know you have found Joy if you didn’t listen to her introduction? it may look happy, taste and smell like you think it should but there’s nothing like the real thing baby.
There are tons of self help and motivational gurus every where. Most of them are impactful and many change lives. Tons of people can teach you how to meditate. I think that is extremely helpful except it is something that I darn sure don’t know how to do well. I don’t think that one needs to have meditation on lock in order to ‘be”. It doesn’t even have to be hard and there are not tons of steps. At least not to start. Like Lao-Tzu states, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.
Here’s that step. Whether you are home or in the car or wherever, refrain from turning on the radio, TV or surfing the internet. Ask for and receive a ‘no talk zone’. Don’t get on the phone to text or to check your tweet. Even for an hour, just listen to your thoughts, your heart beat, your breath. I know it is a luxury for most people but that’s why it’s a bucket-listed item. :-). Reach for it.
I don’t care if you can’t “school your thoughts” or if your breath isn’t “reaching to your core”. Whatever. Simply breathe the way you have been doing all your life, sit or stand as you have been for years but do so to the melody of your own thoughts. The sound of silence. Don’t try to answer, just listen. Listen again and then some more and there, there it is … the voice you have been waiting to hear but didn’t realize was being shouted down by your life. In that voice lies the answer to many of your perplexing issues, the rationale for your repeated challenges and the beginnings of peace. Will it all come clear in a flash? Will this be Paul getting struck on the road to Damascus? Its possible, it has happened but probably not. It is, however, the single step that works every time if you let it.
Joy begins in silence.