Updated: Mar 26, 2019
While looking at our family photos the other day, I ran into the ones from our road trip up to Oregon. One of the stops we made was at Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake is truly a magical place. There is something about the so blue of the color of the sky and the water that makes you feel like suddenly you are not on Earth anymore. It is big. It is blue, very blue, and it exudes a peace that is hard to describe. Every time the topic of being vs. doing comes to my mind, my memory quickly travels to this very special place.
Why is it that we humans tend to measure others and ourselves by how much we get done, how much we have accomplished in life and how much we can potentially do? It is important to stop here for a moment. "Doing" is an intrinsic part of being human. We learn to crawl, walk and talk by doing. We also grow up to, for some of us, unite our lives with a significant other and perhaps have children. It is part of our nature to create, to do and to produce. And all that is great. The flip side of "doing" all the time is the burnout effect not only on the body, but also on the mind.
Our minds have an immense potential for creation, but little is accomplished if we skip the very crucial state of just "being." When we are "being" we absorb our surroundings and and this generates insights that would not happen otherwise. "Being" can be a weekend-long retreat away from home somewhere fancy, but it can also be a set amount of time you take during the day to just be. Some practical ways of "being" are:
- Contemplation of photos, the ocean, the sky, your garden, art in a museum, your pet or children playing.
- Meditation. This can be a few minutes here and there.
- Resting by sitting or laying down on a sofa or bed without any specific purpose. No reading material or electronics involved.
Whenever you have a decision to make, "being" is the way to go. It holds the key that will unlock the possibilities that come with a clear mind. How many times have you noticed that you get the answer to something you have been thinking about the moment you least expect it? I love to take a long shower when I wash my hair. I can have the water streaming down from the crown of my head and down and around my body forever! I think of nothing. I am just being in there in the soothing sound that envelopes me. It has happened many times that when I am getting dressed afterward I have an a-ha moment regarding something I have been dealing with. I did not think about it while in the shower at all. It came to me! It was in the space made by just "being." The insight had a chance to come through, and it will then translate into some type of "doing" eventually.
We all have "to-do" lists. Now, is that to-do list so long that everyday at the end of the day you are completely exhausted and unhappy? If that is the case more than a couple of times a week, I am offering the following: Every morning before you get out of bed think of how you want to feel at the end of the day. Think of the day you want to have and plan ahead. Pick the things on your to-do list that truly need to be taken care of that day. You might be surprised to see that one or two are that important or time-sensitive. Then make decisions throughout the day that will keep you on track to feel the way you really want by nighttime.
If we find the balance between "doing" and "being," our lives will be enhanced greatly. I encourage you to do it. If you are new to it, you might feel a little awkward. Don't let that discourage you! You are not being lazy. Trust me. For years I felt in that trap. It took me many years to stop feeling like I had to be or look busy. Try different ways to include more "being" in your life and stick with the one that works best for you.
Tell me how it goes for you!