Always Well Within

Calm Your Mind, Ease Your Heart, Embrace Your Inner Wisdom

21 Ways to Simply Be

Naked in Eden

Do you ever long to just be?

Robin Easton perfected the art of being while living in the rainforest. Wild adventure, travel tale, love affair with nature, personal awakening, profound healing.  Her book –  Naked in Eden, My Adventures and Awakening in the Australian Rainforest has it all.

Many wonderful life lessons await you on these pages. In this post, I’ll focus on just one – the art of being – and allow you to discover the incredible mystery and magic of this captivating book on your own.

Robin didn’t go to the rainforest to awaken or to heal. She blithely following her partner, their shared inspiration, and the call of destiny. It’s nothing short of a miracle that they survived their youthful naiveté and raw confidence. Imagine sleeping in the open – well, under a truck – next to crocodile infested waters or driving down the side of cliff.

The rainforest blessed Robin with many gifts. One of the greatest was the rare opportunity to just be. She’s describes a month when she “sat and browsed together every dawn” with a wallaby.

“In the end, all I did was sit, watch, and heal.” – Robin Easton, Naked in Eden

Can you imagine just allowing yourself to be in that way? Or does it seems impossible to part from your schedule, agenda, commitments, to-do list, cell phone and computer?

Our culture demands that we live in a swirl of motion. The effect of high expectations, endless activity, and constant pressures is an unnerving addiction to speed, results, consumption, over-thinking, and the corresponding adrenaline rush that occurs.

Living in constant stimulation like this will eventually lead to serious illness.  But even when people become ill, they feel compelled to continue with business as usual. Our conditioning is just that strong. Rarely do people  allow themselves time and space to heal.

But even the Energizer Bunny needs his batteries recharged now and then. If you’re smart, you’ll swim against the tide of convention and find ways to balance being vs. doing now – long before illness becomes your unwelcome cohort.

I know it’s not easy. It’s not easy for me!  But only you can decide “enough is enough” and take steps toward a saner and more satisfying life.

21 ways to simply be

So, how do you start just being?

First, take your watch off and try to keep your eyes off the clock.

Take a few moments to recall the qualities of a relaxed state of being.  Allow them to gradually permeate your body, mind, and spirit.

  • Aimless rather than goal oriented
  • Observant rather than engaged
  • Receptive rather than active
  • Slow rather than quick
  • Intuitive rather than logical
  • Quiet rather than loud
  • Spacious rather than focused
  • Timeless rather than timebound

Then, simply be!  Here are 21 ways to simply be that I enjoy:

  1. Spend time with your body. Lightly place your attention on the sensations in your body.  Then follow them about. Try a guided body scan or an exercise in progressive relaxation.
  2. Focus on your breathing. Just feel your belly as it rises and falls.
  3. Take a full day of rest each week.
  4. Awaken your senses: listen to the sounds around you, see the panorama of images in front of your eyes, inhale the scents, feel the textures, notice the tastes.
  5. Take a quiet break from work regularly throughout the day.  Just pause. Let your mind and body rest.
  6. Take a real lunch break, devoid of work activity or personal tasks.
  7. Eat your meals in silence. Savor the tastes and be aware of the sensations of chewing and digesting.
  8. Take a 10-minute break after every meal.
  9. Get a massage. Just a simple message.
  10. Enjoy a digital and electronic retreat. Turn off all the phones, the computer, television, radio, etc.
  11. Play with children. Dare to be silly and have fun.
  12. Play with a pet or enjoy watching your pet.
  13. People watch. In a train station, a park, anywhere.
  14. Take a meandering walk. Wander with no destination in mind.
  15. Enjoy a bath.
  16. Relax into meditation.
  17. Watch the clouds drift by in the sky.
  18. Float in water in a pool, a pond, a river, an ocean.
  19. Take a nap.
  20. Immerse yourself in nature. Here are 40 wonderful ways to experience nature.
  21. Listen to relaxing or uplifting music.

The idea isn’t to eradicate doing altogether – just to bring more balance into your life.  Start with small doses and then add on.

You too can find the same joy, contentment, inspiration, and good health that Robin found in the rainforest.

“The presence of wild creatures filled my life with joy. My untamed friends taught me how to be human again by helping me to find the benevolent or humane part of myself. They also showed me how to be an animal again and how to listen to my heart’s wild hunger.”  Robin Easton, Naken in Eden

The inspiration I found amidst these beautifully written pages reawakened my own desire to simply be.  Thank you so much Robin for reminding me.

It may be sad to say, but so true:  our sanity and the preservation of the environment depends upon our ability to rediscover the natural ability to just be.

I would love to hear your suggestions about how to just be!

For full reviews of Naked in Eden, please visit:

Image from Wikipedia.

If you liked this article please share the link with others via Stumble Upon, Twitter, or your favorite network.  Thanks! Sandra

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49 Comments

  1. Hi Sandra,

    What a wonderful post. I practice over 1/2 of your list on a consistent basis. I take breaks every 50 minutes to just be. I take 1 day a week to pull back and I go unplugged for long – a little too long for loved ones, I might add 😉 – stretches. From my experience being is the quickest way to heal yourself of any human malady, originating in mind or body.

    Thanks for sharing your insight and the book. Have a great day.

    Ryan

    • Hi Ryan,

      I’m really impressed with how you take a 5-10 minute break every hours. That’s a great habit! I really love stretching too and would like to make it more of a routine.

      As always, thanks for adding your ideas. Stay well and happy!

  2. Hi Sandra Lee,

    This is my kind of life and living. All you wrote about here makes me feel soooo good. Your list of qualities of a relaxed state of being is just fantastic. I would love to make little cards for people of that list and share when they seem to need it. It is easy to get wrapped up in “things”, but if we are honest with ourselves, it is also easy to just be, and take the more mindful approach. It is all a matter of our choices, what we are used to and what we make a priority.

    Love your list of 21 things too! Just delicious goodness for the mind, body and soul.

    And as for Robin’s book, it is truly amazing what one young woman did and how she awakened fully, by being most stripped of everything that our society pushes on us. She found the deepest parts of herself, and today is an amazing teacher for us all.

    I thank you for the link love too!

    • Thank you, Evita,

      Just being is fun! I really get that sense of fun and lightness from your words here. It does all come down to deciding to live consciously instead of on automatic.

      Your review of Robin’s book was both awe-inspiring and complete. I was delighted to be able to share the link here.

      All the best to you!

  3. Dear Sandra, I cried reading this, even before I read it. When I saw the little Wallabies my whole heart wrenched and I thought of my wallaby friend “Wanna Be Wallaby”, and I cried. I couldn’t help but cry. She offered such peace and healing. She was a master at just “being”. That was all we did in each others company. Oh Sandra, Wanna Be was so peaceful, peace so sweet that some days tears rolled down my face. She invited stillness. It is such an honor to have the wild creatures love us, when we haven’t fed them or tamed them, and they have loved us just because they want to.

    This line of yours just blew me AWAY! — “It may be sad to say, but so true: our sanity and the preservation of the environment depends upon our ability to rediscover the natural ability to just be.”

    That is so profound that I am still reeling from it. Do you realize the depths and layers this speaks to? I mean, can we go without so many things, can we live simply, can we sit still and you say simply watch the clouds, can we go without TV, can we go a day without speaking, can we go an hour without “doing”, can we “be” with ourselves in silence, can we stop the chatter and clutter and let Life in. Or do we fill up every single moment with our busyness, so that we no longer hear The Great Universe or Nature speak to us. And when we don’t hear it, feel it, know it, are we left hungry and restless, disconnected and starving. We try to fill the void with more things, more busy, more food, more doing, more and more, and it will never be enough because it is not what we really need.

    Sandra, you’ve no idea what it means to me that you see these things and share them here. You are a sensitive soul, with a remarkable depth of wisdom. The connections and insights that you have made here into “being” and its relationship to our sanity and the environment are staggering. They are brilliant. I’ve never seen it expressed this way.

    I just don’t have words enough to thank you.
    From my heart,
    Robin

    • Hi Robin,

      I thought you might like the photo of the wallaby! I made sure to choose a wallaby and not a kangaroo. 🙂 Just looking at the picture brings me more into a sense of being. It must have been so entrancing to sit and munch with her every morning for a whole month. What a beautiful gift and you describe it so well in your book.

      Your whole book is really a primer in learning to just be plus all the adventure and the beauty and power of nature. So many different lessons in your book stood out for me, but this was foremost because this is what I really need to cultivate myself.

      I always appreciate the depth of your comments. They always say so much. I feel so blessed to have a connection with you. Thank you for your book, it’s a great gift to the world.

  4. dowhatyoulove

    Sandra,

    Thank you for this lovely article! I too just adored Robins book! It is an instant classic, and holds so much wisdom for the world. I hope many discover it!

    I love your list, it is filled with so many wonderful ways to just be in the moment. I am blessed to live a lifestyle that I do many of these (and other) things in my every day life. I am always so grateful for living a life that is relaxed and filled with beauty. I hope more people learn how to integrate ideas such as yours to find that peace within to just be, and be immersed in the wonderful world around them. Nature especially has amazing healing energies, if people just take the time to go out and enjoy it. Even just 10 minutes a day can make a world of difference! And then more people will want to help preserve our nature, because they will see the beauty in it first hand.

    You are a beautiful teacher, keep shining bright!

    ~Stacey

    • Hi Stacey,

      I love hearing your enthusiasm for Robin’s book. It holds such important messages for all of us in these modern times.

      I feel so much joy that you are able to live a relaxed lifestyle full of beauty. I too hope more people will be able to discover the healing power of nature. Recently, I read a comment when a young woman said that she didn’t like to be in nature at all, she would rather be in a mall. If only she knew how unhealthy that can be for you!

      Thanks for your appreciation and encouragement. Thanks for sharing your joy and inspiration.

  5. Sandra, you really have a way with words, and I enjoyed this post immensely. To “just be” is one of the most difficult things in this world. We are more often than not like puppets on a string. Every moment we are being tugged in this direction or that. The mind can never just sit still, it is like an unruly toddler, always getting curious or being distracted.

    I hope to read much more from you in the future.

    ~ Steven

    P.S. If you have the chance, please check out my blog and leave a comment or Stumble it.

    • Steven,

      Thanks for the compliment! Your description of ordinary mind is so accurate. Fortunately, we can learn to work with mind and transform it.

      I look forward to future visits from you. I’ve been to your alluring blog once, and will revisit soon for a more in-depth encounter.

      All the best!

  6. Also, I should ask you – do you have any articles on creativity?

  7. Sandra, what an incredibly insightful post! Robin is really amazing, and now I’ll definitely have to go read her book! It’s true, we’ve lost touch with what it truly, deeply means to be alive, and instead attempt to fill this void with more busyness.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the message in this post. The insight was fully inspired by Robin’s adventure! Thanks for your comment.

  8. Maybe the fact that we have to think about how to slow down tells us something about our culture! I love your list. Mine would include staring at floaters against a bright blue sky, heading in for a mostly wordless three hour session at the pottery studio, going out for a walk in the woods, or just lolling on the couch with my cat and a cup of tea. I even find that repetitive physical activity like line drying clothes helps my brain to unwind, let go, and stop fretting.

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Love your gravatar. 🙂 Thanks for all these add-ons to the list. They are great. I find the same thing about repetitive physical activity. Yesterday I washed the floors and it was so relaxing. Thanks so much for your comment. Now I’m off to go sit on some lava rock!

  9. Sandra, these lines: “But even when people become ill, they feel compelled to continue with business as usual. Our conditioning is just that strong. Rarely do people allow themselves time and space to heal.” Took my breath away. This is what I let happen to me; I didn’t listen to my body. I’m not sure that I’ve mastered this yet. I find peace watching my children, people around me, nature, and my pets, but my mind is still too busy. Thanks for all the support you give everyone online too. Talk soon, Simon.

  10. Lovely post Sandra and looks like lava rocks got something to do with its deep message. And thank you for mentioning me. 🙂

    • Thank you, Abubakar. You wrote a beautiful post on reconnecting with nature, so I’m very glad to link to such excellent information. All the best to you.

  11. andywebster71

    I have a few times been on week-long retreats at monasteries. That was many years ago. This blog brought me right back to watching clouds, meals in silence, a meandering walk and drifting into contemplation that was commonplace during the retreat. It seems like “being” should be the easiest thing to do, but it takes work. Thanks for the reminder that every day should be a day “to be” and not just when on retreat.

    • Hi Andy, What a wonderful description of being on retreat. Thanks for sharing your experience. Integrating that sense of being into life would be a wonderful accomplishment indeed! Thanks for leaving a comment.

  12. Sandra,
    To simply “be”….it is a challenge…I know!!

    And as I read your list – I’m reminded of one particular meal I had – about a year ago – after completing a very intense breathwork session. I ate in silence, and I have never more fully noticed the tastes, the textures, the body of all the items I was eating. It was such a magical experience… And I also think of the yoga class I’m currently in, and how we focus upon different parts of the body…with full focus in that area. So, so meaningful.

    I’m also reading Robin’s book right now – and find it to be so filled with amazing lessons in life…thanks for sharing your thoughts on it here.

    • Hi Lance,

      I loved hearing about your experiences of just being. I too find that yoga and other forms of meditative body exerecise can also be a way of just being. It just depends on how your mind is while you are doing the exercise. I know one person who multi-tasks during yoga, which would not necessarily be the same as simply being!

      I would love to hear about what touched you in Robin’s book. Hope you will be writing about it on your blog.

  13. Meditation is the answer to centralizing your thoughts, direction and focus on life. Life is a complex journey and we need to be in tune with our body and mind. I have a disability that has haunted my body. So I have taught my mind to analyze not only my thoughts but my bodies senses, responses and signals of pain. These signals of pain can be real or what is called referred pain. Referred pain is described as pain not related to the area we feel the pain but rather a pain that is felt in an area no related to where the pain is coming from. Meditation and calm, peaceful analysis of our bodies responses can provide answers to what may be our infliction. This is a wonderful blog and helps others find answers to dealing with the inflictions of our body, environment and provides a peaceful and meaningful direction in life.

    • Daryl,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Naturally, I agree wholeheartedly about the power of meditation. Mindfulness can go a long way in reducing pain. I’m so glad you mention referred pain, which is not widely known. Most people are not yet aware that when you have pain it may originate in trigger points in another spot in the body. Rubbing the painful spot may not help at all because the origin of the pain needs to be address. It’s really interesting to read your experience of using meditation in the context of pain.

      Thanks you so much for your complimentary words about my blog. My aspiration is to be of help and my hope is that my blog will help people find more comfort and ease in their life.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate it.

  14. Hi Sandra,

    Great post! Robin is an amazing woman and her book was a delight to read.

    For me, being at the beach is a great way to just be. There is something about the ocean which is just soothing. It is a great reminder of how small everything is in life.

    And one more thing…I would suggest never wearing a watch. I stopped wearing one over ten years ago and it was one of the best things that I did.

    Much love and blessings to you!

    • Hi Nadia,

      I love being on the beach too! I do have a watch, but I rarely wear it ~ only when I really have to be sure to be on time. Thanks for these suggestions.

  15. Sandra,
    There are so many times I practice just “being” vs obsessing about my online blogging life!
    And that’s where I need the most practice. When I can Be I’m in the flow and all is well. When I’m into coulda woulda shoulda the opposite is happening and I’m spinning my wheels.

    • Wow, I really relate to this Tess and needed to hear this. Love being reminded about the “coulda woulda shoulda”. That is a downhill slide into endless, never-being-able-to fill-it pit of h*ll. LOLOL!!

      I am going through this phase where I KNOW I have to pull back from some things online, and just be allow myself to BE. Trying to find ways to do this and yet still do my “writer” thing, which is how I make my living. I sure wish you would do a post on what would be good to cut out or cut down on. I am already learning many things from you just by watching you, but any practical, “detailed”<< (LOL!) advice in a post would be GREAT! Maybe a list of ten things. I'm laughing at myself. Maybe I should do a post asking for ideas.

      I do know that Sandra's writing on "being" made me take an entire day off yesterday and just sit in the woods. It made me realize I HAVE to do more of this. I felt better, calmer, more creative, more desire to be creative, etc.

      Thank you both Tess and Sandra.
      You are wonderful role models in my life.
      Robin

      • Congratulations on taking that whole day off. I imagine being a new published author is presenting many challenges/opportunities to work with stuff! You will prevail.

    • Tess,

      You’re so funny! I never notice you obsessing about your online life. 🙂 Being is what I need to practice too. I find that taking being breaks throughout the day really helps. Sending you a hug.

  16. You offer some phenomenal ways to add the state of ‘just being’ into our lives.

    I really appreciate your message of ” the idea isn’t to eradicate doing altogether – just to bring more balance into your life. Start with small doses and then add on.” Often times it seems that we must participate in life’s “swirl of motion” in order to function in society, but as you suggest we can stop at times and just be present.

    • Thank you, Aileen. Small doses are a part of Kaizen ~ continuous improvement ~ aren’t they? Your blog is so gorgeous. Love the colors and header design. Great content too.

  17. Dear Sandra,

    Thank you for this encouragement to let go of our need to be constantly working towards a goal and defining ourselves by productivity. I make conscious time each day to remove myself from the task at hand and any stress I may feel. It may seem strange, but I gain perspective from observing how my cat lives his life! He lives from moment to moment and never ponders the future or how productive he is!

    • Hi Mary,

      I have two kittens myself and I am also enamored of the lessons they teach me. I’m glad you have a good routine of taking time out for yourself everyday. Bravo to you! Thanks for adding to the conversation. All the best to you.

  18. Hi Sandra,
    I love love love Robin’s book…life changing for me to read..inspires me to continue to embrace my own life on the boat..
    You share some wonderful suggestions on just be-ing..thank you!
    I love to just be..my closest friendships are those that we may share space but just ‘be’..do our own thing within that space or just be quiet together..not many people are comfortable enough to sit in space and not have the urge to fill it..to allow space to wash over you, rather than you expand to space…
    I love to watch the clouds..to nap…to spend time on the ocean or in the hills…I spend entire days in silence and gratitude…I have a few favorite local trees and I love to just sit under the canopy of leaves and listen as the breeze rustles them or let my mind go blank and meditate upon them..I love to light a candle on the boat and let it light my space..
    I love to be with my children..so focused on whatever it is we are doing, but my favorite together is after we shower and I’ve given them massage we cuddle in blankets on the floor and just laugh and giggle together..so relaxed..

    • Your description of your favorite ways of beings is so inspiring and beautiful. It’s incredible to see someone who spends an entire day in silence and gratitude. How wonderful to have friends you can just “be” with as well.

      Kids are great teachers and great fun. I love hearing about the wonderful time you have with your children. It’s so terrific how you are modeling relaxation, fun, and love for them.

      So nice to hear from you!

  19. Beautiful – and so very true. I would have not given a second thought to such ideas 10 years ago but now I know them to be more powerful than anything else I have learned. My challenge is to practice them often. It is a constantly evolving journey for all of us this life and I will take your 21 lessons to heart the rest of my vacation and hopefully the rest of my days, dear Sandra……Robin’s book must be a gem and I hope to read it soon!

    • Farnoosh, I really resonated with your recent post posing the questions of whether to post from vacation or not. I felt how strongly you moved into the state of being on vacation. This is a wonderful benefit from vacation. As you point out here, the trick is integrating being into everyday life. And, as you so wisely point out, we are all on an evolving journey ~ we can go at our own pace and be gentle with ourselves.

      Thanks you so much for your comment. I appreciate the beauty of your writing.

  20. How truly fantastic Sandra. What a list of moving yet calming ways to be. I also would like to add if I may to talk to yourself. Not in the crazy sense but to open up dialgue with the complete you; your emotions, your spirit, your inner child and so on. The first relationship we need to cultivate is with ourselves (after all we are going to spend our whole life with ourself) so that we experience more harmony within. But your 21 list is a coming-of-age-birthday for happiness and I feel so uplifted and peaceful just reading them. A triumph of a post!

    • Hello John,

      I thank you for your very sweet and kind words. I surely agree with you that the place we need to start is looking within at one’s own mind. Thank you for adding to the list! I really appreciate that you took a moment to share this important insight.

  21. Great list that I will refer back to often. One of my favorite ways to just be (a concept I admittedly have difficulty with) is #12, playing with pets. I love taking a break from my writing to go sit with my cats, sometimes petting them and playing with them, and sometimes just being in their presence. It always calms and replenishes me.

  22. Hi Sandra, this is a great list! It can be hard to stop running around and “just be” as you point out. I decided to sit out on my back porch and just enjoy nature and eat my lunch. Unfortunately, I was snapped out of my reverie as Mother Nature gifted me with an acorn on top of my head! Maybe I will sit under the magnolia next time. 🙂

    • Hi Jennifer,

      So sorry for the acorn on your head. That happened to me the other day walking under a generous tree that also had a hard pod. I guess the answer is to “skillfully” simply be! Go for the magnolia, not the acorn! I have been using meal times as a regular way to get some of that just being in. I often eat on the deck and then just hang there for 10 minutes after lunch to give my body sometime to start assimilating the food. Since we eat regularly, it’s a good way to build in some simply being time and far better for digestion too.

  23. I have taken three small steps out of the 21 that were listed, but do notice the difference. I stopped wearing a watch six months ago. If I really need the time the cell phone can tell me. But, usually my schedule isn’t dictated by a clock. After 3 months or so I stopped looking at my wrist. It does seem that time is not flying by so fast if I’m not checking it constantly.

    I am up to half a day of rest on Sunday afternoons. I concentrate on light reading, family time , and gardening. There is no Tweeting, blog writing, or other things that would make me feel rushed or stressed.

    Oh, and I have been a proponent of naps forever!

    • Hi Bob,

      So nice to see you here! Thanks for giving us a glimpse of the steps you are taking in the direction of simply being. It’s inspiring to hear what you’ve done and your experience with letting go of the watch. A half day rest on Sunday, I feel, is a big accomplishment. That’s what I’m aiming for this beautiful Sunday afternoon. Thanks for your comment.

  24. Simply being is truly one way to reconnect to our being. Quite easy to say, but difficult to practice because of the ‘busyness’ of our fast paced world. Although, I randomly take out time to be with myself deliberately, this post has made me see more reason why I should increase this routine of self re-invention.

    I like the way this quote summed it up;

    “In the end, all I did was sit, watch, and heal.” – Robin Easton, Naked in Eden

    • Hi Tito,

      I fully agree with your thought that this is easier said than done! Yet, once we set our mind in a certain direction, we are on the path and moving the right way. I’m glad you connected with the post. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. All the best to you.

  25. I have a hand-burned piece of drift wood hanging on the way that says . . . JUST BE.

    When we stop running around looking for what we’re missing, we find that we’re not missing it at all. 😉

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