This morning I tried to write about the joy of turning forty-five. Or how to love yourself. Or an inspiring response to the “Just Be” video I cried over and shared on Facebook.
At the same time I was checking to see how many Happy Birthday messages were popping up, watching Netflix and eating cake for breakfast.
So, what does it mean to focus on Being?
Noticing feelings gets a bit much because after watching the video I felt guilty for all the years I complained about having to work the next day and yelling at the kids to go to bed because I should have been savouring the fourth goodnight kiss while stroking her hair and reading another ridiculous bedtime story.
I remember the times I didn’t dance in the rain because I was too busy mopping up muddy puppy prints mixed with dog crap while trying not to slide in it. All while making lunches, paying the bills on line and getting ready for work.
(Sidebar here, but honestly, when your children tell you they want to get a dog, listen to all their well-crafted arguments, nod, smile and then picture yourself walking around a beautiful lake with a giant bag of steaming shit dangling from your fingertips. Because no matter what they tell you. THEY WILL NOT BE WALKING THAT DOG. If that doesn’t convince you, you could imagine yourself changing a maxi pad on a dog wearing children’s underpants with a hole cut in the back for the tail. Later, after your puppy is fixed, you will learn that they actually make DIAPERS FOR DOGS.)
Anyway, as I think about it more this video is actually starting to annoy me. It makes it sound like it’s simple to just turn off the do button and switch to just being.
As if we didn’t grow up with messages every day telling us to do more, work harder, buy more, be thinner, cleaner, smarter, faster, richer.
That no matter what we do we are not good enough and we need to buy something to fix it.
This is the culture we are marinated in. How could it not ooze out of our pores?
How many of you got the message growing up that you are perfect just the way you are?
That you are worthy of love and belonging right now?
That you don’t have to do anything but focus on your breath?
How many of us were shown how to slow down, connect, open our hearts, be vulnerable, support each other?
We live in a culture that is running on speed and shame and now we are questioning how we ever out ran ourselves.
What supports do we have in place for families that help us slow down and connect in the moment?
How are our leaders focussing on work life balance, pay equity, affordable childcare, or a living wage for families?
What is our government doing to end domestic violence so that women and children are safe in their own homes?
Yes mindfulness can help with this. Being in the moment with whatever rage, fear and hopeless reactions we have to injustice. Refusing to shut down.
Reaching out, connecting, speaking up.
Social movements can help with this. Revolution can help with this.
Hopefully from the bottom up we can push back on the capitalist patriarchy that’s squeezing us.
That’s what really needs to change.