By Sister Jeanne Cmolik
“Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.” Rabbi Abraham J. Heschel
If you are already a mystic or a master of mindfulness, you can skip this, but if you are like the rest of us who often don’t pay attention to what’s right in front of you, read on! I’m offering a few tips on how to be where you are.
Put on your “Life is good” T-shirt and settle in to read this. Are you HERE yet?
- BE where you are.
Avoid the temptation of multi-tasking. Be where you are.
- When you are with your family, be with your family. Don’t dwell on the fact that you daughter needs a haircut or that your husband has a spot on his shirt. Pay attention to what is going on when you are together, and BE there.
- When you are in church, be in church, rather than planning what happens after services are over, or reviewing your shopping list.
- When you are at the beach, be at the beach. resist the temptation to worry about what you left undone at the office. Don’t miss your vacation! Your body is warm from the sun, refreshed from the cool water, resting on a blanket—now YOU be there—body, mind, and spirit.
- When you talk with someone on the phone, pay attention to the conversation. Don’t think about what you want to say next, who else you need to call, or what you need to do when you get off the phone. Be there!
- When you go to a class or a play or a concert, be. When you settle into your seat, take a moment to bring your mind, heart, and spirit to join your body. Remember, you’re not really THERE until all of you is there.
- DO what you do
There are some days when we never really pay attention to what we are doing—and so we miss the joy of it all.
- When you eat, taste and savor the food. Look at it; chew it; swallow it; enjoy it. Note color, texture, and flavor.
- When you walk, pay attention to the world around you: what’s blooming, what you see and hear. Avoid the temptation to talk on your phone or listen to a book or make mental lists of what you need to do next.
- When you take a shower, take a shower. Feel the water on your body and enjoy it. Smell the soap. Notice the sensation of the soft towel against your skin as you dry yourself.
- When you listen to music, full appreciation comes with full attention. Take the time to move the music to the foreground, rather than background. You’ll be surprised at what you hear when you really listen.
- When you get in bed at the end of a long day, get in bed! Notice the cool sheets, the warm blanket, the soft pillow cradling your head.
- SEE the world with God’s eyes
In Jesus, and ever after him, God fully experiences humanity through those God creates in the divine image.
- When you revel in a sunset, so does God. A million people reveling in the sunset means God revels a million times!
- When spring and summer flowers bloom in all their beauty, take it all in with your eyes. God, who gives us the gift of sight, admires the fine handiwork of creation in every eye that truly sees.
- Delight in watching children at play. God sees the little ones bubbling with joy and enthusiasm; for them, everything is new. Your delight is God’s delight.
- “SEE GOD in all things.”
This is how St. Ignatius of Loyola sums up Catholicism’s sacramental principle.
If everything in creation points to God, we are invited to expect to FIND God in all things.
Are you ready? Start looking now!
Remember that BEING is a blessing and LIVING is holy. You can do this. Just BE where you are and DO what you do—and expect God to show up everywhere.
About the Author
Sister Jeanne Cmolik, CSJ, has served in various leadership positions including being a member of the Congregation Leadership Team from 2007-2013. She has also ministered in elementary schools, high schools, and parishes in the Cleveland area, and worked with new members in the Congregation. She enjoys reading, travel, music and writing blog posts!