How to Be Here
Do you see your life as something you create? Or do you see your life as something that is happening to you?
How much of our lives do we live somewhere else? We live the week for the weekend. We live the month thinking about our next trip. We work this job for the next job, as a step-stool or stop-gap. We go back to school, because after that we’ll finally do what we were made to do.
Dream big. Make plans. But if we live only in the future, we’re missing it.
Sometimes it’s not the future that drags us away, but the augmented present. It’s a present space distorted by a constant drive to refresh our feeds. Social media are another harmless aspect of our lives—important and powerful, even—until we let them consume our every waking moment. We no longer live here, but are living there, thoughtlessly, constantly in that world. And we fail to recognize that there is something divine about this breath.
How to Be Here is a mindfulness book, not about withdrawing but about being radically present. It’s an easy read with lots of one-line paragraphs and 3-page chapters (i.e. classic Rob Bell). I actually read this book on paper!
The book is about embracing your God-given capacity to reflect God into the world in ordinary, everyday work. You can call it God’s image. Call it divine breath you breathe. In the midst of suffering and joy, work and recreation, we are spiritual beings who, by being present, can experience God and people and life in life-giving ways.
Here are a few bits I underlined, circled, highlighted or otherwise defaced the sacred page for the sake of remembering:
All work is ultimately creative work because all of us are taking part in the ongoing creation of the world.
Not the creative type, you say? You’re just a mom? Cool. On moms:
Could anything be more connected to the ongoing creation of the world than literally, physically bringing new human beings into existence and then nurturing that new life as it’s shaped and formed?
To my accountant friends, he talks about accountants as creatives, too.
Four spirit-affecting diseases:
Boredom. Cynicism. Despair. Comparison.
Think about your day yesterday. Do you suffer from any of these?
Then there’s your ikigai—what gets you up in the morning:
To be here is to embrace the spiritual challenge of your ikigai, doing the hard work of figuring out who you are and what you have to give the world.
Nothing like a Japanese word to get you thinking about why you’re here. I love that he helps you think through dropping everything to do that thing you love full time versus doing what you love as a hobby.
Not convinced? Listen to Luke Norsworthy talk to Rob Bell about the book. You don’t read books? Rob Bell will read it to you.
Even if you don’t read it, take a week or two to think about how you can be more present—at work, in traffic, in your relationships, doing what’s difficult, and doing what you love.
Does being here scare you? That’s fine, take your time. We’ll be here when you’re ready.