Doing vs. Being
This is the time of year that many of us feel more like human doings than human beings.
Yesterday afternoon, my husband and son went out to work on costumes for one of my husband’s upcoming Samba School gigs.
I had been looking forward to this rare present all day: two to three hours of quiet time alone in my house!
After they left, I hopped online to take care of a few timely work-related items (rare for me as I try to stay offline on the weekends).
Forty-five-minutes later, I looked up and—irritated– felt the sands of time sifting through my fingertips. My mind raced to all the things I had wanted to do during this window—gardening, hiking, baking, cleaning out my closet, “pure fun” reading, biking (it was gorgeous and sunny in Austin yesterday). And as I noticed all of these distractions waving and running by with hopeful smiles like contestants on the Price is Right, I found my irritation subsiding and realized what I really needed to “do”—was nothing at all.
Finally surrendering, I grabbed a Mexican blanket, headed out into our backyard, found the warmest, sunniest spot I could and laid down on the grass.
Can you relate to any of this?
I think there are three kinds of people:
1. Those who feel they have to “do” to be worthy (they’re constantly in motion; this was me up until about age 35)
2. Those who feel they need to “do their work” before they relax and play (I’m in this camp with millions of other Puritan work ethic devotees)
3. Those who have no guilt ever about relaxing and playing at any time! (My husband sleeps here—in his book “any time is the right time for relaxing!”)
The wonderful, wise author/mind-body expert Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. says, “Remember—your to-do list is immortal. It will live on long after you’re dead.”
Being very skilled at the “doing dance,” I can honestly share that it’s quite seductive.
We’re rewarded –particularly in the U.S.—for output. Our national anthem is “Just Do It!” (You don’t hear anyone say, “Can you believe how often she says ‘no’ and how much she’s slowed down? Wow, what a role model!”)
There are many dangers that come from over-doing, but I think one of the deadliest—and scariest for me when I go into over-drive– is we forget who we are.
I’ve heard many of our Career Strategists clients share in the last ten years “Isn’t there more? I feel like I just go to work, take care of the kids, handle my endless work/home obligations, sleep on the weekends and then start all over again Monday morning.”
When we don’t balance “doing” with “being,” we begin to feel like robots instead of the juicy, creative, vibrant, alive beings that we are.
And we forget that “Life is not a thing to be managed, it’s a mystery to be lived.”
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take pondering life’s mysteries over finding a new way to cook chicken breasts, any day.
Onward through the week … with a bit more mindful attention to balancing being with doing. The best I can.
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The Journey, a blog about coach/author/entrepreneur Renee Trudeau’s personal journey and living life from the inside out, comes out weekly. (Note: This blog post appeared in a similar format in 2010. It is so timely, I had to share it again.)
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