What does it mean to be? And how does this relate to our doing? And is there a happy medium?
Most of us know what it means to do. We live in a culture that is inclined towards doing ~ taking action. Many of us define ourselves by our capacity to do ~ to produce. I certainly know that this has been my truth for many years. Well, maybe, it’s more true to say that it has been my habit as far as how I approach my life.
The other question that arises for me is about the distinction between being and doing. Are they really two separate things or is it possible to occupy both states at once?
What do you think?
Watch Your Patterns
I was talking with a friend the other day about our shared push towards doing. We were acknowledging that we both often asked ourselves at the end of the day “what did I do today?” “what did I accomplish today?” Whatever the question, it always seems to be focused on our level of productivity. And when we could answer that with tangible results and specific outcomes, somehow we felt better about ourselves.
What an insight!
I immediately flashed back to a time in my life when I had LOTS on my plate ~ all by my choice. I organized my life in interoffice envelopes. One envelope held reports I needed to review and edit, one held papers that required marking, another held assignments I was working on….etc. etc. I had somewhere between 7 and 10 envelopes on the go at all times.
One day, I was getting myself organized by shuffling aimlessly through these envelopes ~ taking papers out ~ putting them back in and then promptly forgetting what I had just looked at. Can you spell overwhelmed? I recall breaking out in laughter as I took the bird’s eye view and imagined how silly I looked as I shuffled without focus through the tasks and papers that had become my life.
What specifically was in those envelopes? I have no idea. I remember what my main activities were at that time and I have some recollection of what mattered to me at that time. But, the details I was drowning in at that time are lost on me now.
No Matter What You Did Before, You Are Here Now
I began to realize that no matter how much I had accomplished ~ no matter how many tasks I had managed ~ at a previous time in my life, I am still where I am now.
I’m not saying that nothing before this moment matters ~ and in a way, I am saying just that. You know what? Maybe, it all matters in the moment. And doesn’t matter as much after it has passed ~ unless of course, we dwell there.
“Do I want to engage in the experiences of my life or do I just want to get stuff done?” That is the question I posed to my friend and we had a good laugh! I know my answer to that question at this time in my life.
We can get so lost in the tasks ~ the to do lists ~ running around telling ourselves “I have to do this or that.” Any statement that starts with “I have to” is a red flag for me now.
I have lived my life for years with the mantra of “I have to” and it has turned many things I have wanted to do into chores that I felt enslaved to and ultimately would seek to escape at some point. This is no way to live. Sure, being highly productive can be an element of our success and capacity to achieve but it is not a goal within itself.
The tasks that we engage in from a place of joy have the capacity to ignite our hearts and to infuse our lives with enthusiasm and inspiration. With that energy anything we do becomes a gift in our lives and not just another thing to check off our list.
Let’s get started!
Start to connect with how you speak to yourself throughout the day. See how often you catch yourself saying, “I have to” “I should” “I gotta” ~ what if you said instead “I want to” “I choose to” or even go as far as “I am excited to.” See if this starts to shift your energy in the direction of being as opposed to doing.
I’d love to hear your experiences!