Today I waited in line at the Apple store, wondering about the mysterious backup that removed everything after 2012 off my laptop. Even the team at the Genius Bar was having a hard time sorting it out.
I stood behind a young man wearing the shirt you see in the picture. I am not sure I have interpreted it as he means it. Does it mean we are to fulfill the mandate: "It's all about" 24/7, 365– staying connected all the time? Or is it that big capital B meaning “It’s all about Be, being?”.
It took me a moment to digest the first interpretation: 24/7, 365– which leaves only one day every four years (leap year!) that he is not on call. We used to wonder at doctors who are on call, how do they manage? Now a lot of us feel as if we need to be reachable at any given time, that we are not allowed to be unavailable. Something bad is bound to happen if we cannot be texted, emailed or called. A lot of us have the experience of never reaching the end of the to do list, not even for a day or an hour. We have more information than there is space for, more than we can contain or recall. There is a sense of urgency to reach for something else in conflict with an anxiety when we lose our phone, or the files on the computer–
Perhaps this is where the second interpretation comes in: It’s all about Being. To get to being I often wade through a sea of restlessness and distraction. But there is an insistence from my inner world that takes me back, and to my experience of being a maker. It is a kind of pursuit of my heart's desire, a courtship with the divine. This means at times I must throw duty aside and make time for Nothing.
It can even be helpful to have my computer out of commission. There's a transition time between doing and being , where I am debriefing from all the demands– the lists on paper, in my calendar, on my computer and in my mind.
The reward of putting all this aside is that eventually I become completely absorbed– lose track of myself altogether. This is happiness! And while there is no guarantee, my experience is that this fidelity to what is authentic (rather than practical or obedient)– brings an accompanying ease when I get back to those lists. They are not as complicated or heavy as I thought before I left them for awhile. And the world has done fine without me.
Could it be that there is some grace that accompanies taking the time to leave wherever you are to find your soul?
If it is true that our outer life is a kind of mirror of our inner life, then it is essential to do whatever it takes to step back. It is in these liminal places that we make meaning. And what will we do when faced with loss if we don't develop our inner life?