Today was Monday. I have a long to-do list and I probably should have been writing, working on my website, preparing for meetings, setting up future workshops and retreats – to name a few.
However, when I looked out of the window, the blue sky, songbirds and spring sunshine suggested otherwise.
So I took what felt like a radically rebellious decision on a Monday morning. I went to the seaside.
Seriously, who goes to the beach on a Monday?
I didn’t go for exercise, relaxation, wildlife spotting, learning or spiritual growth. I went with no other intention than to walk, notice, sit, be with my experience and take it all in.
As I lay on the beach and studied the shells in the sand, I felt like a child again; nothing else to be done but to explore and to be.
Once again, Mary Oliver’s words came to mind:
“Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
What else should I have done today indeed?
Are there not times when the ‘least traditionally urgent’ things become the most urgent?
Of course, our modern days are busy, full of demands and complicated; it’s understandably hard to find time for “just being”. Stopping feels bad, radical, naughty even.
But oh, please, let’s not allow this to be an excuse to miss out on life.
Whoever you are, and however busy your life, may this post be an invitation to you to carry Mary Oliver’s permissive words with you.
Whenever it may feel possible, listen out for that deeply natural, sane voice within you that may sense that something else is more urgently needed than the “shoulds” and “musts” narratives of the mind.
It is there, in all of us, I promise. What if we listened to its call – even if only for the briefest moment?
What if we occasionally tuned out of the “shoulds and musts” radio station of the mind and made the choice to stop, to breathe, to walk, to do with no other intention than to be?
It doesn’t need to be a full day out; just a quiet cup of tea, a short sit spot in the garden, a brief minute sensing breath in the body perhaps?
Could we not take even just a moment to live in the name of just being with the wonderful natural mystery of it all?
Tell me, really, what else should we be doing?