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Going Nowhere, Being Nobody

Live Like You Can

By Janis McDonald

When I first read these words on the cover of Ayya Khema’s book over15 years ago, I was struck with two diverse feelings. While the book is basically about Buddhist meditation, the title powerfully jumped out at me and felt like a state of mind I wanted to acquire. My initial reaction was, “What in the world does this mean?” It felt like throwing in the towel and just lying down until the end. After the words in my brain sunk into my heart, I immediately felt a rush of relaxation and freedom.

The dualistic feelings were at war inside of me. On one hand, during most of my life, my tendency to lean towards perfectionism made this statement feel like giving up. On the other hand, I had this intense feeling of curiosity and thoughts of, “Wow, I wonder what it would feel like to remain in this feeling state of freedom?”

“Say Yes! Don’t prepare, just show up and start anywhere,” a poem I wrote or read somewhere sounds like the perfect blend of both feelings. What would happen if I just remained open without striving, only curious? The rest of this sentence could be, “and knowing nothing.” Now those words send another shock to my body!

As a lifetime trainer, I knew how to lose weight, get strong, and prevent falling.  Now, my move into coaching takes me to a place of not knowing. Coaching with curiosity, open ears and heart allows for discovery of the unknown.

What does “good enough” mean? Being nothing special, cultivating an ordinary mind?

Does this release the lifetime of pressure, allowing the river to flow fast or slow, straight or meandering, over rocks or into a smooth lake, damming up and stopping forward progress or falling over the cliff to create a huge noise and electric energy?

As the year has closed and a new year is being born, I wonder what waits in the next section of time as the world divides up the months, days, and years into separations? Is this time just a continuum of last year? Is it a time to place a marker that divides this year from last year? Does the time spent looking forward bring new energy or same old same old? I wonder what it would feel like to place Ayya Khema words below my feet, using them as a firm foundation to go through the next section of time.

Finally, I feel I am at a point in time where it is good enough, I have no where to go, all I have to do is show up and wait, see what will happen, stay open and curious, not shutting down the flow of energy by pre-thinking, assuming and prejudging. Just breathe and see what happens.

As I ponder the New Year, what would it feel like to be “nobody, going no where, knowing nothing?” Well, it actually feels full of energy, freedom and like a river flowing easily, traveling where, I do not know. I will wait and see.

Janis McDonald, certified professional coach, functional aging trainer, private gym-phone 152v0457,


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