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Let Yourself Be

That’s what Robin, our kundalini instructor, said this morning.

We had just finished a meditation which we later learned was 15 minutes long. Fifteen minutes, you guys! It was weird. Like, really weird. We chanted, with no music today… just a 4-line Sanskrit chant. Three of the lines ended with a really strong huh sound that we made by squeezing our diaphragms, bellows-style. It went on and on, and time stretched and compressed like a telescope. It felt like we’d always been chanting and had just started chanting and would maybe never finish chanting, then suddenly/finally, she said, Breathe deeply and pause your breath…. and…. release. It wasn’t until the end of class that she told us we’d been doing the meditation for 15 minutes. CRAZY!

Anyway… we were making the transition from our seated meditation pose to the lovely lie-on-your-back-and-breathe portion of the class.

Lie down,  Robin said, and let yourself be __________________

Those two letters hung in the air and the silence stretched out behind them. Even after writing a few weeks ago about getting comfortable with saying, simply, “I am,” I waited for Robin to finish that sentence. Let yourself be… what?! Then the realization slapped me in the forehead. That was the finish to the sentence.

Let yourself be.

Not anything in particular.

Just be-ing.

Aaaaaaaaaah.

It’s a powerful concept, no?

And today is not the first time someone has suggested that I might feel a whole lot better about everything if I let things be. As they are. Not a particular way. Maybe not even my way (ahem). Just as they are.

I have a scrap of paper from my last session with my therapist, from the day I was “graduated” and she told me I was welcome to come back if I needed to talk, but that she thought I was in really good shape. Her parting words, written in her friendly handwriting: Let it be.

My dad gives excellent advice. The words I’ve heard from him most often: It’s good to be alive. Just enjoy yourself, honey.

At yoga: satnam.

There is a recurring theme, if I slow down and pay attention.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve listened to songs by the Beatles so many times, it’s hard to really hear them anymore. But as a pre-holiday gift to yourself, I encourage you to listen to this song. Really listen. Hear what it has to say. And get it stuck in your head so you can sing along whenever you need to during this wondrous, but potentially stressful, holiday season.

Allow yourself to be. Be everything. Be nothing. Be you. Be happy. Be frustrated. Be surprised. Be hungry. Be sated. Be joyful. Be apprehensive. Be excited. But mostly…

Be.

 Update 12/18/11: My remarkable husband Dave posted some additional versions of “Let It Be” in the comments; they’re definitely worth checking out. He writes, “Sometimes, its easier to appreciate an old song if you hear it in a new way.

Here’s Paul McCartney, doing the song in Red Square in 2003. When he wrote the song, his music was illegal in Russia, and available only through the black market. Some of the people in the audience seem old enough to remember: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8jrd5UYNFs

Here’s Ray Charles, doing his thing with the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eof2c5fTcI8

And here’s a really lovely acoustic cover by an earnest young man who calls himself ‘thefriendlyfreak’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5e_6m3KpjQ

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12 Responses to “Let Yourself Be”

  1. I love this. I love that you were waiting for the end of the sentence. I would totally do that.

    I constantly monitor the state of my emotions with endless internal dialogue rather than just letting them happen and just be-ing. I think it causes things to bottleneck a bit. I need to channel my inner Dude and tell my overly analytical brain “That’s just like your opinion, man” and be. Just be.

  2. dave says:

    Sometimes, its easier to appreciate an old song if you hear it in a new way.

    Here’s Paul, doing the song in Red Square in 2003. When he wrote the song, his music was illegal in Russia, and available only through the black market. Some of the people in the audience seem old enough to remember:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8jrd5UYNFs

    Here’s Ray Charles, doing his thing with the song:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eof2c5fTcI8

    And here’s a really lovely acoustic cover by an earnest young man who calls himself ‘thefriendlyfreak’:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5e_6m3KpjQ

  3. Stephanie says:

    So powerful, Melissa. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Meghan E. says:

    Sometimes you go to church, flip on the TV, read an article, or visit one of your favorite blogs… most of the time it comes out of nowhere. But when it does, it’s peace. I needed this peace tonight.

  5. jeannie cooper says:

    Kundalini Yoga rocks. Have been doing for about a year, find myself changing in ways unexpected. I am following your journey with interest. Let it be…..

  6. Amanda Arthur says:

    This gave me goosebumps. Thank you.

  7. ARC says:

    I’m not a huge Beatles fan, but I have always loved that song. It’s really soothing to me :)

    It is *so* hard in our busy world to just be, isn’t it? :)

  8. Mel says:

    Thanks, you guys, for allowing me to be all groovy this holiday season. I appreciate the openness to talking about breathing and relaxing and getting centered. So grateful to have you all around here.

  9. Becca says:

    Just be. I think that might be the key to peace AND happiness.

    I think you could be happy even when you’re sad by “just BE-ing.” and knowing that its okay to be sad sometimes… just be what you are!

    • Mel says:

      I agree, Becca. A few weeks ago, our yoga instructor said, “On a cloudy day, there is nothing wrong with the sun.” Even uncomfortable emotions are good if we let them do their thing.

      Good BE-ing to you ;-)

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