Being vs. Doing: The Issue Just Keeps Showing Up, Again and Again!

It’s a lovely morning in late July. (Well: “lovely” if you like steamy, muggy weather, but hey, I’m trying to be positive here.) I’ve just returned from a wonderful trip to Scandinavia. My heart is full of gratitude for the ability to do such things and for the presence of wonderful people in my life.

And yet, I woke up with an odd sense of disconnect, something just under the surface that I couldn’t quite name. I sat down with my journal to try to figure out the source of that feeling, which took only three sentences to show up: “Aha — the root cause: lack of compelling things that must be accomplished. The human being vs. human doing thing, still my ‘lesson plan’.” 

The week following the return from my trip has been full of catching up, but today, finally, the list is arbitrary. There are things I could do, things I probably should do, but nothing of first order importance. I’ve come to that point where I can choose, and I realize that leaves me feeling oddly vulnerable, like an animal that’s been mindlessly running on a treadmill and suddenly finds itself stalled on unmoving ground. Now what?

“Doing” – being purposeful – has long been my default defense mode. It’s as if a code got programmed into my brain, a message that I have a right to take up space on this planet only if I’m productive, doing something “worthy”.  Yep – I bet you’re seeing the holes in this theory right along with me. What is “worthy”? Who defines that? Who decides what qualifies?

None the less, the underlying feelings are hard to dispel, or at least wrestle into a reasonable place. It seems odd, ironic, that we can understand something yet still be held in its irrational grip, but there I am.

Realizing what is spinning in my brain helps. It definitely makes a difference, setting off well-practiced self-talk: “There you go again, thinking you are only worthy if you are ‘doing’. Stop. STOP! Take some deep breaths. Be thankful for the universe. Simply drink in being. If you must have an agenda, let it be kindness. And kindness might just start with putting your own feet up and having a cup of tea! Try doing something ‘useless’…”

Chuckle. “Useless”: What is that? Who defines that? Who decides what qualifies? It seems I have a web of messages that spiral around each other, revealing yet more holes in all my theories. Could be I need less theories, less thinking, and more commitment to simply (yes, it is simple, if you really do it) staying in the moment. Just now, this. And blessed be whatever that is, messiness and all.

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