I’m a pretty good do-er. If I’m not doing, I’m thinking about doing or what I’ve already done and how I could have done it better. At other times, I’m thinking about what I have yet to do and how and when I’m going to do it. Being a great do-er always seemed to me something to be proud of; I was efficient, I got things done, I could be relied upon, I was accomplished, I was an achiever and if I’m honest, I liked feeling all of those things.
Recently though I began to wonder if my doing was not so much a special skill to be proud of but rather, a habit I knew so well that I was simply acting on automatic pilot. And if it was a habit, why had I developed it? How did it serve me?
Well, on the one hand, it served me very nicely thank you. I appeared efficient, calm, organised, busy and somewhat important. I felt it gave me some sort of street cred or badge of honour amongst peers and colleagues. But on the other hand, it was not serving me at all. The badge of honour was more like a lead weight around my neck, grinding me slowly to a halt.
Underneath my doing I was exhausted, stressed and dying for some time-out. What was I trying to achieve with all this doing? Could I ‘do’ my life into perfection? Not so far! Could I ‘do’ myself into being indispensible? Not even close, there were always others who could perform my duties at work when I wasn’t there.
So I’m wondering if doing was serving the purpose of helping me to avoid being.
Being is a challenge. Being actually requires some doing, you just can’t see it from the outside. Being is stopping. Being is quiet. Being is presence. Being is quietening the mind, looking inwards and allowing inner wisdom to rise. Being is practicing mindfulness and awareness. Being is bloody difficult for incessant do-ers and let’s face it, most of us are.
But I reckon if ‘doing ‘ is a habit we can develop until we are highly skilled at it, then so is ‘being’.
Here’s what I’ve learned from the last 12 months of trying to ‘be’ just as often as ‘do’
- When we practice ‘being’ it actually enhances the quality of our doing. Really. Because we begin doing when and what we choose to do, not doing a whole lot of stuff just because we are acting on automatic pilot.
- Being also becomes better and easier. Because when we are being, we are peaceful, we know we don’t have to rush off and ‘do’ to validate ourselves or to create perfection.
- Quiet being time allows amazing wisdom to arise from within. We learn what is behind our need to be doing. We learn to trust ourselves. We discover we are enough, even without doing everything. We discover ‘being’ is enough.
Now, not for a second am I suggesting we can stop doing altogether. Of course not. Most of us need to work, we need to fulfill certain roles at work and at home, we need to exercise and get social, we need to wash our clothes and drive our cars. What I am suggesting is many of us don’t need to be doing quite as much as we do. We also don’t need to be doing at least two or three things at a time. And we certainly don’t need to be doing what we do at break-neck speed.
Reflection and Action:
After reading this post, find some time to ‘be’. Just sit and allow your inner wisdom to rise to the surface. What do you feel? What do you hear? What doing can you let go of? How can you balance the doing and being in your own life?