While I'd never pretend to have all the answers - anyone who does, short of the Creator of the Universe, is trying to sell something - there is one question that has me wondering:
To be, or not to be?
To paraphrase the Bard, that really IS the question.
BEING - to be fully immersed in each moment, cognisant of your worth and value as a human BEing on this rock called Earth, to be fully alive - is at complete opposites to what most of us spend 99.9% of our waking hours DOing.
How much of modern society's current ills, both physical and mental (and most definitely spiritual), can find their roots in this false paradigm?
Plenty, according to a plethora of experts. Here's a quick snapshot for the time poor/Type A folks amongst us (ha!):
- Almost a quarter (22.8%) of 15-19 year old young people in Australia display symptoms of probable serious mental illness - up from 18.7% five years ago (Mission Australia Youth Health Survey 2016).
- More than 11 million Australians (50%) reported having at least one of eight chronic diseases in 2014-15 (AIHW 2016). Key preventable chronic disease risk factors include insufficient levels of physical activity, high blood pressure, and poor nutrition/obesity.
- The number of working age individuals in Australia who received disability support pensions for psychiatric conditions increased by 51% from 2001-14 (Med Journal Aust, 19 June 2017).
It's clear to see that the Western World is facing some serious challenges, despite the fact we have better health care/medicines, education levels, and disposable income than ever before.
What's the average, time-poor individual to do?
Well, I could probably DO a bit less and BE a bit more, I hear you say. But how?
Here are some easy starting points to help change your focus from one of competition/consumption to one of CONNECTION - with the outdoors, with loved ones, with the Creator, with yourself:
- Go for a daily walk in nature (which could just be to your local park, not necessarily in pristine rain forest or by the ocean). Extra points if it's with someone else, even your pet.
- Take mini BEing breaks. Practice being mindful, employing all your senses in any given moment. (Right now, I'm enjoying watching an old dog in front of me beg for treats from its owner, the taste of strong, hot coffee, the sound of seagulls and cafe tunes... all against a backdrop of tropical sea and sky.)
- Start a gratitude journal. Five minutes a night before bed is all it takes to tap into this powerful habit. Try not to focus on the external trappings of success - i.e. I'm thankful for my big house, my sports car, etc - but on relationships, health, and fulfilling the steps towards your purpose.
Thanks for walking beside me.
Please share any of your own tips or thoughts about getting off the DOing treadmill to start the intentional stroll along the BEing path.