To Be or Not to Be

Shakespeare was definitely onto something in one of his famous plays Hamlet, when a despondent and anguished Prince Hamlet opens the scene with a line that has become world famous for decades: “To be or not to be, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them.” Hamlet wrestles with the pain and unfairness of life and at the same time recognizes that there is an alternative. He has a choice.

Recently I was reminded again of how important it is to live in the moment and learn how to just be. Yes there are alternatives to constantly being stressed, busy and constantly “doing” as opposed to” being”.

My 24 year old nephew, who lives in Israel, recently spent ten days staying with us in Sydney. It was a profound trip for us on many levels.

Firstly the last time I had seen him was when he was 10 years old (circumstances and immigration). Secondly he was the best guest we have ever had at our home (apologies to previous visitors!). Thirdly the reason for this was that he knows how to just “be.” Let me explain.

I was struck by how relaxed and at ease he was and how he didn’t feel the need to be occupied 24/7. “Don’t worry about me, I have learned to just be,” he kept saying when I worried about day trips, restaurants, arrangements and filling every minute of the day. I was impressed and to be honest a little shocked. Being the type of person I am, even though I have managed to slow down considerably in the past few years I still have a lot to learn. If I am really honest with myself I have been slipping up too much this year and at times have felt like I was back on the treadmill. His visit has prompted me to stop and quieten the constant buzzing and nagging in my head and be more present without worrying about the next task, place, meal or errand I have to attend to.

So how can we get back to a state of “being “rather than “doing “all the time in our modern technologically driven world? How can we cultivate a mindset that it’s okay to sometimes just be? We’re so busy doing that we forget how to just be. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Rediscover the beauty of life by taking a minute to stop, reflect and be present.
  2. Live the process and focus on the journey.
  3. Ask yourself these questions: Where am I? Who am I? Why am I?
  4. Reconnect with old friends and loved ones
  5. Practice mindfulness
  6. Take time off regularly
  7. Choose quality rather than quantity
  8. Practice the art of doing nothing

My nephews visit to Sydney was a gift, a blessing and a wake-up call to me and the words “To Be” are now part of my everyday vocabulary.

This month’s mantra by Mandy Hale is dedicated to Josh, for reminding me the importance of being and that it’s okay to do nothing sometimes.

“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breath, trust, let go and see what happens.”

With love and inspiration

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