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On Staying Home

By Grace Lee

Never in my life have I consciously stayed home as much as I have this year.   With the pandemic that’s going on, a lot of us are blessed enough to have a choice to stay home in order to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.   With all the time we have at home, some of us might have cleaned up our homes, reorganized our bookshelves, took time out to clear our closets…  maybe it is also the perfect time to do some housecleaning within ourselves.

Living in Hong Kong, we have a tendency to be very busy, and we are always doing something.  From the moment we wake up, we switch on our “rush” mode.  It’s not uncommon that the first thing we do when we get up is to check our social media, check our emails….  It’s not uncommon that we have our schedule packed, trying to squeeze in just another errand in between those appointments; and the rushing from one place to another and at the same time scrolling through our mobile phones.  

Let’s be honest, when was the last time you had the pleasure to take a day off to do nothing? Or when was the last time you find yourself sitting at home having nothing to do, and start wondering… what is there to do?  “Doing” has indeed become a habit we have developed after all these years. 

Efficiency is one of the areas we as Hong Kongers pride ourselves in, and it has certainly helped us achieve a lot of things.   But behind that running around, behind that very busy you, have you ever thought about what it is that’s making you so busy? 

This time around for those who find themselves with more free time, I’d like to invite you to dig deeper into yourself by asking this question:  “Why am I so busy?  What is it that’s making me so busy?  Why is there a need that my schedule has to be full?  What am I trying to achieve?”   In short, what is the ultimate trigger behind this?  

For if you’re focused on the present moment, it’s highly likely that everything is actually ok.  There’s nothing missing. It is when we keep thinking about the past (which is the past and we cannot do anything to change it), or when we keep anticipating the future (which isn’t here yet and we can’t do anything about the future); then we find ourselves missing the being of ourselves in this very present moment.  

In order to stay in the present moment and just be, one can start with mindfulness practice.  Daily meditations are a great way to start; and there are a lot of apps that can help guide us into it.   Alternatively, you can find moments in between your busy schedule, to just take a couple deep breaths in order to find your own peace and calm.  Scientifically, when we take deep breaths, our heart rate slows and more oxygen enters our blood stream, which ultimately tells the brain to relax.  Deep breathing also up our endorphins which is the ‘feel good’ chemical in human bodies.   When we do this, it’s much easier to come to your own “grounding” and become more centered.  So, instead of being your mind, it allows us to be the awareness behind our minds.  With practice, we become more of a passive observer to ourselves and the situation around us. 

As we practice to become our own passive observer, we allow ourselves to take a step back and just be.  Just be who you are; just be where you are at.  Perhaps it is a very good space where we are at, or perhaps it’s not so wonderful.  Either way, we notice it and fully accept it.  Perhaps then we notice there’s less of a need to always be in a “doing” mode.  Perhaps the “doing” mode is a reason behind the non-acceptance of our own state.  It’s only when we allow ourselves to fully accept, to acknowledge where we are at, then we can consciously make changes.  

With the time we have to ourselves this time around, may we find a balance between the doing and the being, and may we find peace and acceptance in ourselves.

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