Like many others, I tend to be pretty task driven. I know what I want to accomplish, and I make my priorities and plan what I’m going to get done. The has served me to an extent as I have achieved quite a bit in my life, but I’ve also found that it’s been accompanied by an anxiety that my list is longer than my capacity to complete things.
In this time of too many inputs, I think that many of us are running around s little crazed as we see the possibilities of what can be done, and unlike our forbears, it’s a lot more than any one human can realistically do.
I’ve been struggling with this for a while. My meditation practice has helped, and my implementing if the Getting Things Done practice has also helped to take things off my mind. I have learned through his that it’s not the amount of undone things that really bothers me as much as the worrying about it.
Last weekend, I had a little bit of a revelation. I had the afternoon free and had just come back from a massage appointment where he did the equivalent of re-braking a broken bone that hadn’t healed correctly (damn that scar tissue!). I was really sore but had the afternoon to get something accomplished. The big difference was that instead of asking myself what I wanted to get done, I instead asked:
“Who do I want to be at the end of this afternoon?”
As you can imagine, that’s a very different question. I said I wanted to be calm and relaxed, and feel good about myself. Well, I had a very different afternoon that day, because I didn’t do anything that would make me crazy or frantic (which given how high energy I can be, is common with me). I did have things to cross off my To Do list at the end of the afternoon too.
I’ve been trying to incorporate this practice into my daily life, but it’s not easy for me. I’m trying to break my “rushing to get a massage” mentality, but it’s yet another practice.
What changes for you when you Be more than Do?
I started this blog in 2009 because I wanted to get out my ideas on the intersection of where people feel their passion and souls live and what they do in their lives to create meaning and support themselves. I’ve seen too many of my clients who are just blindly going through their professional careers who then 5, 10, 20 or even more years into it discover that they are completely unfulfilled and feel like they have been wasting their lives. It’s my goal to get as many people as possible to consider what’s important to them first before taking these steps. They might take the same actions, but this time with confidence.
I’ve also been doing a kit of personal reflection and study in my life and tried to share my learnings with all of you. Probably the greatest insight that I’ve had is one that I’ve read and heard for years, but I finally “got it”. As is probably apparent from my posts and my professional position, I’m a great proponent of planning and working your plan. I’m always looking for ways to be in control of what’s needed to be done (just look at all the posts that I have with the tags GTD, actions, goals, and the like). That’s my natural way of being and I can easily teach this to others. I’ve had to be a student of the other side, namely allowing things to happen.
I’ve been so driven to get things done that I’ve been impatient to allow things to happen. I’ve come to realize in a visceral sense (and not just intellectually) that there are too many variables in the world that I have no control over, and I have to learn how to just “be” in order to effectively deal with life’s challenges. As the saying goes “Life happens while you’re making other plans”. If I’ve been working so hard to get everything right, I’m not able to deal with what’s in front of me effectively.
In reviewing some of the data that I’ve seen from this blog, the #1 search term that brings people to my site is “human being versus human doing”. My first post on this is subject is one of my most read posts I’d ever written. I think that people have a great longing wondering if what they do has meaning and if there are other ways of being. As you can probably tell, it’s my work to answer that question with a resounding “Yes!”.
The first step is to practice “being”. It sounds cliche, but you have to work at slowing your mind down and just be present to the current moment. Our fast paced culture does all it can to keep us from bring present. This is not something I can just give you; it takes practice. You will screw it up a lot at the beginning. Keep trying. There are lots of different ways (yoga, meditation, prayer, serving others, etc.). Find the way that works for you and keep trying to do it and stay present.
Once you get that down, it will be much easier to actually take the action steps you need to make your dreams happen. You’ll have a focused goal and won’t have a lot if other things crowding your mind to keep you from the action steps to get them done.
So, how are you being today?