This my grandson, Jackson Bennett Holmes. I used to call him J.B., but now we call him Jack. It reminds me that there is this new thing going on where grandparents name themselves. For instance, our names are Mimi and Papa even though I dreamed about being called, “Grandpa.” Whatever happened to that and why didn’t I get consulted on this thing?
Anyway, Jackson is staying over for a day or so and last night I got to sit with him on the porch. Mimi really does all the work when the grandkids come over. I have good intentions, but she loses sleep over the grandkids coming over and she’s ultimately in charge — I’m just glad they post a picture of me on Facebook or Instagram with the grandkids like I actually did something to help.
But occasionally, I get to do a little project with the grandkids like gardening or building something with modeling clay, or in the case of Jackson, sitting and listening to music. It’s kind of our thing. He likes the band Tuba Skinny the best, but he will listen to about anything soulful or modern folk. He especially likes the horns. Sometimes, we both kind of just doze off until other people in the house feel like we need to do something.
Jackson has some developmental challenges. I won’t go into all of them, but most kids his age would be starting to perform. We would be asking them to say something or show off the latest thing they’ve learned. We can’t help ourselves, but the vibe is different with Jack. We are mostly content just to be together. I don’t know if he feels as strongly about it as I do, but he seems to be in agreement.
Yesterday, while my daughter and Mimi went to the store, we just sat on the front porch and watched birds flutter around and listened to the rain. Winston the Wonder Dog hid under our chair – because it’s raining and there was a little thunder!.
Whether it is Jackson or Mimi, it is a great relief for me to exist without people having requirements of me and without me have expectations of them. One of my new practices is Centering Prayer, where I enter a kind of inner stillness and sit with the Divine without having any expectations or agenda. It is tremendously helpful, and it releases me from demanding or expecting from the other, even if that other entity is God.
I don’t really know how to explain the exchange of energy that happens when we stop using things and people to meet our expectations and we simply allow ourselves to “Be with…” whatever exists in our presence. In the Bible, God expresses “I am,” which means “I exist.” The fact that we and other things and beings exists is not only factual, it’s important. Existing together is not a copout for some kind of action — it’s the one thing that can make a huge difference in our self-care and spiritual lives.
So, Jackson and I weren’t wasting time on the porch last night. The trendy term is “making space” for each other. I don’t know if he understands this intellectually, but he seems to get it intuitively.
There were times this past week, when we visited friends in Florida, that we stopped talking and doing and just looked out at the seashore together or watched a ghost crab venturing out to find food.
Some people call it being and becoming because these moments when we can allow ourselves to be where we are (presence) and be who we are (authenticity) actually help us grow and progress forward in this journey we are on. Sometimes doing is just a performance based on what we already know — Being teaches us so much more!
I hope you will investigate some of these things in my new book, Being: A Journey Toward Presence and Authenticity and I hope you have someone like Jackson to be with on a stormy night. If you don’t have a person consider being with nature and all that that entails. Even Winston the Wonder Dog feeds my soul occasionally.
Be where you are, be who you are,