Monday Motivators: Being vs. Doing

“There are some people who go through life doing things rather than being,” said my best friend on the other end of the line. I knew where this was going, what she was hinting at.

“Are you saying I am a doer?” I asked.

“You’re not just a doer; you’re an exceptional doer.”

She was telling me in the best way possible that I might just be doing too much. This is not something I haven’t heard before. Normally I shrug my shoulders, so what I do too much. I can handle it. Except this time it’s true. I may have just gotten myself too busy and it’s impacting me in weird ways. For instance, I showed up late to a meeting that I swore started at 4:30. I’ve been going to these meetings for two years, and they start at 4:00. I’ve double-booked myself, and in my mind I envision being at both places, but it’s not until later that I realize that I cannot be two places at once. Every morning now I have to write myself a to do list just to remember what it is that I need to do– because I’ve been forgetting.

I do a lot at my job and I do a lot at home. There is always something that needs to be done. Even when I travel, I like to visit cities, places where there are things to do. Sitting on a beach or by the pool does not appeal to me. (I’m not going to divulge what I do because 1) I don’t need my readers telling me I do too much, too, 2) I don’t want it to be like I’m saying, “Look at me! I do everything!”, and 3) this is not a busyness competition: we’re all busy.) And as my friend reminded me, sometimes we make ourselves busy in order to avoid “being” or reflecting or processing emotions. Busyness keeps keeps the internal messiness at bay. There is some truth to that.

My problem is that I don’t know what “being” looks like. How does one just “be”? Is it sitting in a chair doing nothing? Can one do something and be at the same time? I imagine it involves “being present” and “in the moment”, but if I wonder if I’m present, does that mean I’m not? I didn’t ask my friend the definition of being and how to be; we spent all of our time discussing the consequences of doing too much.

So that is my goal this week: to find time to just “be”. I don’t have a real plan on how this is going to work out, since I don’t know what it means to “be”, but I’ll do it anyway.

Monday Motivators was started by my friend Laura who decided that we could all use a bit more motivation in our lives to take on personal challenges. Check out her blog; she’s a lot of fun AND she is a recent FitBit convert (so she can totally hang with me).

10 thoughts on “Monday Motivators: Being vs. Doing

  1. To me, simply “being” is focusing in the present moment… observing…. studying…. purposefully concentrating in the here and now, without judging. It does not mean that the individual is “lazy” or “non productive.” We tend to think that we “need to do things” in order to live a “good” life. Living fully does not mean always doing something, but pausing and enjoying what is in front of me.

    1. I was going along with you swimmingly until you mentioned “without judging”. Being is going to be a lot harder than I thought! But I will work on it. Thank you for your thoughtful comment– I will take your words to heart.

  2. I could make myself dizzy thinking about things like this. Yes, I suppose it’s true that we can distract ourselves from uncomfortable feelings etc. with busyness. And I do often think I need to SLOW DOWN. But that doesn’t necessarily mean all busyness is bad, right? I get satisfaction and, dare I say, happiness out of being productive. Feeling like I’ve accomplished something or added some value. I can get depressed if I’m too still. Is that evidence of the distraction thing? See, my thoughts are running in circles. Either way, I support reasonable goal setting. Sounds like you’re listening to what your mind and body need right now.

    1. Yes, it is all about the balance. Sometimes it feels like there is no satisfaction in the accomplishments if you’re too busy to enjoy them. But I am finding ways to pare down some of my obligations since I need to find this balance. I feel very “off”, like my barometer is screwed up. It needs to be set right again. I am also very familiar with the link between depression and stillness (which might explain my 10-12,000 steps a day!)

  3. Can I join your “I’m a Doer Club?” I’m always doing. BUT, and I mean it in all capitals, you can DO and BE. By DOING, I am BEING me. And DOING and BEING me brings me peace.

    I’ll shut up now.

    1. Yes– for some of us DOING is BEING! You can join my club anytime! I think it has a large membership. The trick is to keep it in balance and make sure we know why we are doing things. Thank you for your response.

  4. I wouldn’t even begin to tell how to just “be.” Sure, I suppose sitting quietly and reflecting on your thoughts and feelings might be part of that. But sometimes being is just going about your daily life. Instead of planning more things and adding things to your life, maybe subtract just enough stuff so that you can enjoy all the things you are doing. Read, walk, take a nap. Have a glass of wine. Being to me means taking the time to look around and experience my life.

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