Coming home from a cross-country trip recently, I found myself disparaging familiarity. Things around me felt too known, things I experienced felt too common. I have always been one to avert sameness, and it struck me with a two-by-four when I came home from the airport. I get to just be with myself, however I show up.
Nietzsche once concluded, “Everything goes, everything comes back. Eternally rolls the wheel of being. Everything dies, everything blossoms again…” I get to remember that whenever I’m feeling heaviness in the complacency of daily life. All of these moments that I suffer, all of the ones that I relish in, all of them go away… and come back around again. There’s nothing wrong or right in that—it simply is what it is, and works the way it works.
There are a couple different ways I go through the feelings I have when things become too familiar. These are ways I have seen myself be, and seeing them has allowed me to be with me more easily.
- Disruption. When I disrupt things I seek to massively change them, make them different. Sometimes I use explosives and other times I use a ramrod. I exert my force in order to push assertively into the world within and around me.
- Suffering. I know how to stew. Some people call it “sitting on your pity pot.” When I sit this way my soul calls for tenderness and soothing, as the fires boil so hot within that only turning down the heat can cool me off.
- Movement. Different than disruption, movement uses the law of motion to exert an action in expectation of an equal and opposite reaction. Movement is more gradual and peace-filled than disruption.
- Resting. Rather than suffer, there are times when I simply rest within myself in order to gather strength, absorb the moment, and embrace the positive aspects of familiarity. In time, resting in the feelings I feel has become a comforting practice, but I often went through suffering in order to get there.
All of these different approaches lead to outcomes that may or may not benefit me. That isn’t usually the point. Go through the feelings I feel and simply being with where I am is the point. Remembering that all things come and go in the ways that is life does is the point. That’s what Nietzsche came to that, and I can arrive there too.
Being doesn’t mean having to get still or forcing silence in your life. We are humans being, and as such, many of us have things to do.
That means that planning, changing, living, standing, staying, accelerating, acting, anticipating, attaining, averting, building, caring, collaborating, conceiving, contracting, cultivating, dedicating, mobilizing, navigating, obtaining, practicing, reducing, reserving, stimulating, sustaining, undoing, recognizing, nurturing, scanning, enlarging, repairing, traveling, moving, dreaming, contributing, unifying, withdrawing, activating, energizing, simplifying, clarifying, decreasing, correcting, zoning out, running, staying, leaving, negotiating, observing, creating, sleeping… These aren’t just doing, they’re being.
These are all just activities that we do, and by doing them we’re being who we are. They aren’t right or wrong; they just are. Don’t try to stop doing; start being in the doing.
Being in the doing means learning to embrace every moment as it presents itself, not trying to manipulate it, reframe it, or deconstruct it into become something else. You don’t need to sit in any particular position or align yourself with any particular direction. Instead, you simply get to be with you, however you show up. Some people try to change themselves, their circumstances, or the beliefs they think are driving their situations. Engaging within yourself sometimes means accepting you simply as you show up. That doesn’t mean you cannot change—on the contrary, it may mean that you need to! But at its core, it simply means that you get to learn to live with yourself, however you are right now. You may not like that person, and that may be your work.
The psychologist Abraham Maslow once wrote, “The sacred is in the ordinary…it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s own backyard…travel may be a flight from confronting the scared—this lesson can be easily lost. To be looking elsewhere for miracles is to me a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous.” The Heartspace Teachings encourage grasping the profane in the regular, or simply allowing ourselves to understand that ordinary life is sacred.
If you want to be with you, observe how you are in different moments of duress. Do you do things like I do? Do you do your own things? See your shadows, hold the mirror up to yourself, and be who you are. My work in personal engagement isn’t about becoming; it’s about being. I know that becoming something else happens, but I don’t need to make it happen. Instead, I simply get to be with where I’m at right now.
Just be with you. It might mean the exact same thing.