Today is my birthday. When I was born, my parents named me Debra (nicknamed Debbie). Years ago I was curious enough to look up the meaning of my name – “bee”. According to the Parents Connect website, it was the 12th most popular girl’s name between 1950 and 1960, which would explain why there were four Debbie’s in my elementary school class, I guess.
Once, I bought a coffee mug that had my name on it with a description of the traits a person named Debbie was supposed to possess. It included things like “doesn’t sit still”, “flits from place to place or project to project”, “always busy”… So there’s no wonder that I have spent most of my life doing just that. Setting goals, working toward them, planning, doing, always looking for the next opportunity or challenge to keep me moving forward. I’ve changed jobs 15 times in 32 years. I’ve accomplished a lot, but I’ve missed a lot, too. Simply because I’ve lived up to my name and been a “busy bee”.
Sitting still has always been a challenge for me – unless I’m lost in a really great book. And watching a movie for 2 hours straight – forget it! I get up and walk around or go do something else every 20 minutes or so. Sitting at a computer and creating or writing happens – because the brain is working, I guess. But sitting still and just “being” has alweays been an elusive concept for me. I have always been a “task-master” at heart and will put getting the job done before anything else most days.
Lately, though, I’ve been giving this sitting still idea a chance, trying to defy my name’s fateful meaning – through deliberate practice. I’m working on being more mindful of every move I make, every task I do. It has allowed me to slow down and appreciate very ordinary tasks in a way that is extraordinary and enlightening. It’s amazing to me the things I notice now when I slow my movements and my mind and live each moment more fully. Somehow, getting everything done today isn’t as important anymore.
Enjoying each moment and all that it has to offer is much more rewarding. The senses are heightened and little things become more pronounced, meaningful – the colors of a rainbow, the smell of a honeydew cut open, the softness of the cat’s fur, the sound of each note of music in a song. Through more deliberate quiet time, breathing, relaxing, slowing down, sitting, being mindful, even smiling meditation – I live in a whole new world. These days I’m more likely to stop and smell the flowers than flit from one to the other without a thought or care.
I still have along way to go before I am really good at just being, rather than always doing, but I’m getting there. And the journey is pure joy. So, here’s to mindfulness and presence – defying “the bee” in me. It’s time to live life one moment at a time because, as Socrates, the Peaceful Warrior says: “There is only now”.