It is 7.30am. Christmas is over and we have celebrated the start of the new year. It's the third day of 2022, I am the only one in the house yet up and I'm floating around on a breath of exquisite silence. I have felt overwhelmed over the past few weeks and in my overwhelm I took on more than I wanted to and became busier than I liked. This is the first morning in weeks that I am fully alone and, for a few precious hours, my time is my own and I plan to spend it with just myself for company.
I fill my rucksack with my journal, a banana, and a bottle of water, wrap up warm, put on my barefoot shoes and head for the woods in anticipation of some writing time outdoors. I have a plan for this time of course, my head and energetic body still swimming with the stuff-to-do-ness that ges habituated in busy times.
But as I walk I begin to let go. It starts with a sinking down my attention away from my thoughts and deeper into my body. Ahhhh, the relief. The spaciousness that I can begin to connect to again. There is nothing to do here. This is 'being' time and I can feel my feet walk themselves more slowly now. The cold air sucks itself deep into my lungs like a cool glass of water on a hot day. I am slowly coming back to myself.
I have a favourite spot in these woods where I find a place to sit and pause a while. I close my eyes, relax my stomach and feel my feet on the earth. A woodpecker rat-a-tat-tats on its tree, reminding me of the roll-down in a Zen monastery high in the mountains. A couple of squirrels chase each other around and around the trees whilst their friends crunch nuts amid the musty damp below. These creatures are 'being' exactly who they are. They are in the flow of this moment. Dong their wood-peckering and their squirrelling - they are fully in life. Fully here. As am I now.
And so what gets in the way for us? Why do we create more and more habituated busyness that means we can no longer feel even ourselves in amongst it all? As humans have we learned to muddy the waters with our thinking minds and societally we increasingly consider it wrong to let it all go. I observe in my clients and in what I see in the media that increasingly people are forgetting how to pause and listen to the quiet voice within. And increasingly we wonder why we feel bad and why we try to self soothe in order to feel better.
My wish for 2022 is that on a cellular level, more and more people learn that to release and surrender, to stop and let go, is the most successful path to creating a liberated and healthy life and therefore a liberated and healthy world. I also have that prayer for myself as although it happens less and less as the years go by, the pull is strong and I get caught too. Alan Watts puts it perfectly in his book The Way of Zen,“Furthermore, as muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone, it could be argued that those who sit quietly and do nothing are making one of the best possible contributions to a world in turmoil.”
Muddy waters must be cleared. The jar of sand and seawater once shaken must rest. And the clear waters that remain inspire and guide, perhaps in a new way, in this incredible life. Action without inspiration is often harmful on a personal and societal level. And so to learn to 'be' in stillness and relaxation, rather than push, or stress is the way.
'Being' is about stillness enough to listen to the deepest of places within.
'Being' is in truly resting in who you are and how you feel, in this moment.
'Being' is bringing loving awareness to the whole realm of experience.
'Being' is to know more of who you are.
'Being' is in trusting it all.
'Being' is what you do when you let go of the expectations of doing.
'Being' is who you are before you learnt not to.
To 'be' is to be free.
'Being' with Kirsty, runs for 6 weeks online from 20/01/2022.
Find out more and book your spot here.