To Do or To Be – That is the Question

We are human-beings, not human-doings.

I heard this in an online class by Jen Pastiloff, a yoga teacher and author. The phrase has been on my mind lately as I’ve found myself frustrated, easily irritated. Struggling to figure out exactly what it is that irks me. And as it often goes I had a lightbulb moment while journaling, so here it goes:

I am sick of hearing how much people have achieved from their to-do lists and how productive their days have been. Social media doesn’t help, be that instagram or WhatsApp. It’s hard to share how you feel, it’s so much easier to share what you’re doing and what you’ve achieved.

“Hey, how are you doing today?”
“Great! I’ve achieved loads today. I’ve taken the dog out on a walk, and I’ve baked banana bread, and I’ve prepped dinner, and I’ve applied for a job and I went to a photoshoot, and packed all the Christmas presents and made all the decorations and applied for a job and saved a pigeon and it’s only 1pm! How about you, how are you doing today?”
“Erm… I’m great too, thanks.”

I do feel overwhelmed by all the doing that happens around me and when I wake up and think of “all the things I should to do” I feel paralysed, drowning in a sea of doing. I’ve realised that for as long as I keep putting other people’s doings on a pedestal, I need to step away from it all. The moment I direct my attention to how I’m feeling I realise I feel good, content even. I don’t need to be in the race of doing just now. It’s winter and it’s cold and it’s dark and the world is upside down and nothing is like it used to be and it’s so strange yet here we all are, human beings, living and being and carrying on. For as long as doing gets me down, it can wait, just being is enough.

Maybe this isn’t you, but it’s me and so that means it’s someone else out there too and this is for you. I don’t care what you have or haven’t done today, tell me how you feel. 

(None of this is a criticism on people who are doing and what they are doing. One human’s realisation isn’t a criticism of another.)

Image courtesy of Emma Matthews.

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