Being and Doing
These days I’m playing with a new way to dance with being and doing. So often it’s a tug-of-war between activity and presence. Not that I haven’t had plenty of experiences of both at the same time to know better, but I can also get plenty tangled up trying to integrate them both into my intentionality. My mind seems to think that getting up from a meditative ponder-session (say, for example, when I first wake up in the morning) to spring into action would be to risk losing the connection to the depth I’ve just nurtured. This can lead to berating myself for “lounging around in bed too long.” You see, my dad grew up on a farm in East Texas. They got up crazy early, had breakfast, and went out to the fields to take best advantage of the cooler part of the day and to get as much work done as possible every day. I apparently internalized this way of starting the day well enough to drive myself nuts with it. The ensuing dynamic has often been torturous and I can get stuck in that familiar and intractable win-lose battle.
Fortunately, the balance on this being/doing thing has been shifting in me lately. It isn’t so much, necessarily, about the proportion of being-ness vs doing-ness that’s getting reconfigured as much as the relationship that I have with them. I’m having more success with the idea of noticing and attending to different internal parts of myself (each of which have legitimate desires and needs) being engaged in internal dialogue. The process (an elaboration of Marshall Rosenberg’s work in non-violent communication by Jerry Donoghue in his book “Inner Empathy”) leaves me feeling more peaceful and more productive. From this perspective, I can be clear about my desire to have both aspects of myself in the same “room” together without trying to tear each other limb from psychological limb.
So let’s take the part of me that simply enjoys “being” and noticing “what is” and call him Pres. And let’s take the part of me that’s compelled to take action in the world and carry forward my dreams and call him Movement. Meanwhile –I- am the awareness that can step back from identification with either of these parts, notice and appreciate the value of each of them for my life, and monitor the dynamic between them.
I want for Pres to be allowed to enjoy his still peaceful attentiveness while also realizing that Movement is also part of the team of “me.” And I want Movement to enable new experiences, to manifest my dreams, ideas and passions in the world, and to “realize” my desires to play, work, love, and live fully; all the while being okay with Pres wanting to notice, appreciate and draw from what’s happening right now.
From this perspective, getting out of bed doesn’t have to be a battle between staying in bed forever or “losing the battle” to doing. I’m giving myself the okay to wake up with some ease and permission to meditate for a while on any remembered dreams. I get to appreciate, guilt-free, Pres’ offerings of the chance to appreciate sentience, insight, reflection, and the opportunity to imagine the best day possible. These insights and integrations are often invaluable to how I begin and move through my day. With the spaciousness, Pres seems to be more willing to let Movement come in and propel me out of bed and into the day in a more integrated way where I am bringing all of myself to the endeavor.
I’m curious about how this applies to other areas of “waking up” and coming to a fuller life. I’ll share these ideas and explorations with you in this space down the road (Pres and Movement willing..!). Please add your thoughts and perspectives on this below…