Being vs. Doing

I’ve been told that I’m a ghost lately on my blog and Instagram. Which is entirely true. Sometimes, or oftentimes in my opinion, a post that is born out of a spontaneous, organic thought is more sincere than a contrived one. I’d rather have my writing be authentic than forced. So if I don’t feel an urge to write, I don’t. Hence the gaps in posts. But, I did write something the other night (on paper in a notebook…old school; the way I used to exclusively write) that I think is worth sharing:

It’s become imperative that I figure out how to cultivate a kindness toward myself. For the health of myself and my relationships with others. When I become irritated with my boyfriend John, I believe this to be a direct reflection of the way I’m feeling about myself, or treating/responding to myself..which is often with irritation and impatience.

Impatience with my body especially. When or where this inclination toward perfectionism reared it’s ugly head and became so ingrained in my mind, I may never know. But I’m establishing the work of “undoing” the need to be perfect. It’s begun unraveling, in the best possible sense. We as a culture are under constant pressure to produce, produce, produce, to the point where 24 hours in a day just isn’t enough, and we’re left cutting into our time to rest and sleep, which I truly believe are essential to health and well-being. A lot of people say, “you can sleep when you’re dead.” I don’t necessarily agree with that philosophy. It may work for some people, but personally, my body needs sleep in order to function properly and to be able to enjoy life fully and with ease.

I recently watched an interview with Rodney Yee and his wife, Colleen Saidman Yee. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the name, Rodney Yee is sometimes referred to as “the godfather of yoga.” He said:

There’s a certain anxiety that comes with the impermanence of our existence. So naturally, it becomes an impulse we have to do as much as we can…cramming activities in what little time we have that seems to pass so quickly.

Produce. Perform. Achieve. What about just being? Is this something we’ve completely forgotten to do? In yoga, we sit with ourselves, and see what’s there. It’s amazing what emotions and sensations bubble up when we turn our awareness inward.

Personally, it’s become rather harshly evident that somehow, to my core, I have not learned to accept myself completely. I notice it especially when I’m practicing yoga. I push my body, silently scolding it for not deepening into a posture the way I think it should. I become frustrated with injuries that hinder my progress, and actually end up blaming my body, rather than being patient with it. I insult it when I focus in on flaws – for example, my muscular arms that I secretly wish were long and sinewy like a ballerina’s. If beating myself up were a major in college, I would have a PhD by now. Then of course, I become mad at myself for not being confident. So you see how easily the critic can swoop in and just take over.

I think that the expectation to produce and push often sets us up for our own critical review – which can end up being a roast on ourselves, spelling disaster for our self-esteem and emotional well-being. Sometimes we need to opt to push the pause button on production. Stop the assembly line. Be deliberately gentle with ourselves. For example – tonight I had a to-do list. I put this internal pressure on myself to accomplish these tasks in a certain period of time. After creating this list, and returning to it for my next task, I felt a sense of anxiety swarm and settle in my chest. Because if I don’t complete this list, suddenly I’ve fallen short.

So what did I do? I deliberately dismissed the list. I gave myself a break. I watched an inspirational documentary on Netflix (First Position; about a select group of young ballet dancers pursuing their dreams. Brought me to tears. I highly recommend it).

Why should we always measure our worth in achievements and accomplished goals? How about measuring in moments, in seasons, in our capacity to love, in our simply being human? How easy it is to forget that who we are, right now, in this very moment, is enough. More than enough. And on that note, I’m going to go have some popcorn. 🙂

Om Shanti,

Steph xoxo20140720-214531-78331492.jpg

5 thoughts on “Being vs. Doing

  1. I think it’s better to measure the quality of life in moments shared and the beauty of existing, than in goals attained. I don’t mind setting some goals for myself, and I will of course feel good when I reach them, but I think we as humans much too often focus on the goals and nothing else. Perform, perform, perform… Seems like our culture is all about that. Who can be the best at a certain task, and who can make the most money? Buy a better care, get a better job, and so on. We’re never truly satisfied, it seems. And we fill our lives with so much stuff to do, because we’re scared of dying, or perhaps more of living a life which isn’t “enough”. But ironically, that’s how we forget to truly live.

    Sometimes we just need to stop ourselves and be in the moment, instead of focusing on the future. And sometimes we need to appreciate what we have right now, instead of chasing after something better. I like your post!

    1. Thank you for contributing this insight, and I wholeheartedly agree. It has become the “norm” to be on a constant treadmill, so to speak. We forget that the present moment is where we can truly take in the sweet nectar of life. Goals are great, but if we aren’t enjoying the journey along the way, we’re kind of missing the point…thanks for reading. Namaste 🙂

  2. Reblogged this on For the Infertile Myrtle and commented:
    I am loving this post so much. I am in a season of my life where I am learning how to be. God keeps telling me “just be and let it be.” It’s so hard to do that when my humanness keeps yelling at me to keep doing.

    1. I’m glad the post spoke to you. It’s actually quite difficult work to simply allow ourselves to be, just as we are, and to separate our value from the “things” we’ve accomplished. Our true, authentic self is the most important thing there is, and we must show ourselves love, patience, and respect. We have to trust that God will provide. I especially like the way you worded it: “my humanness keeps yelling at me to keep doing”. We are indeed human, and it’s a step in the right direction that you have that kind of awareness. Each day, practice allowing a bit more patience towards yourself, and the day after that, allow a bit more to emerge..and on and on 🙂

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