Learning how to “just be”

It’s National Suicide Prevention Awareness month, and the Washington Post Web site has a relevant piece which I quite liked: a blog post by Dana Mich titled “My father died by suicide this year. His death inspired me to learn how to ‘just be.'”

Mich was inspired to write her post because of a November, 2015, Post article that talked about how prevalent anxiety is: “With so much to worry about [in today’s world] it’s no wonder the majority of us are battling anxiety. According to The National Institute of Mental Health anxiety affects 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population.” Link to the Nov., 2015, article.

Mich points out that “anxiety needs the future,” while on the other hand “depression needs the past”: that is, anxiety is about “fear and lack of control over all that [lies] ahead,” whereas depression is “regret over the things [you] couldn’t go back and change.” Therefore, Mich proposes learning how to “just be.”

In the last paragraph, Mich says she practices meditation and yoga, and something that sounds like mindfulness, in order to “just be.” Now I meditated for years until I realized I just found it annoying; which how I react to Mich’s suggestion to “quiet [the] mind and focus on the present moment.” Mind you, if meditation and mindfulness work for you, go for it, but there are plenty of other possibilities. I know prayer works really well for some people (although not for me). Henry Thoreau wrote a long essay about walking as a spiritual practice. Being outdoors and interacting with non-human organisms works for me — gardening, birdwatching, botany, etc. Carol and I read to each other at night.

Whatever works for you. Though I will say that we should all probably minimize our screen time. So now that you’ve finished reading this blog post, step away from teh screen, and go and just be for a while.

One thought on “Learning how to “just be””

  1. Shortly after I read this entry, I came across a poem by Octavio Paz. My translation:

    The Exclamation

    Still

    not on the branch
    in the air

    not in the air
    in the instant

    the hummingbird

    That state of being in the instant, just being, is hard to come by. Meditation is designed to help, but is not my preferred way either. Anyone who finds an approach that lets them “just be” for even a moment at a time can cultivate it. It seems there’s no one best way. Thanks for this post.

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