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  • julienaylorcounsel

Modern life: Being and Doing.....

Do you recognise this lifestyle, below?





Group membership/practices

Commitments to people, places and things

Jobs to do, things to do, plans to make, stuff to ‘sort.’


Daily life: the ‘daily grind’ (commonly used phrase). For some, this can feel like showing up, being there and getting on. “This is what life is”, you hear (and tell yourself). “That’s just the way things are.” We ‘do’, we’re ‘on the go’, we’re ‘busy’ (always busy). In some societies, ‘busyness’ has become a way of life, something that is almost coveted, held in high regard. We wear our busyness like a badge of honour. Here we are, the busy ones; successful, doing all the things, all of the time. A ceaseless cycle of planning, preparation, moderation and targets; spinning all the plates, ensuring none of them come crashing down. Oh, how much we do.

The fascination with ‘doing’

So why do we ‘do’ so much? What’s it all about? Cultural, familial, societal patterns and inferred (or directly stated) messages can have a significant impact. Many societies are organised on productivity. Productivity equals success. Productivity equals relevance. Productivity equals worth. Is there any wonder that ‘doing’ might then become the main focus of our lives? Whilst having a sense of purposefulness and pride in what we do, can be an essential part of our overall wellbeing and positively enhance our lives, consistent and persistent busyness, holding everything together, whilst feeling overwhelmed, can leave us gripping and grasping; clinging on for dear life, in a state of flux and discontent.


So, what about being? What happened to that? To ‘be’ in ones life, to fully embody the wholeness of yourself as a human in the world. To take up space for yourself, to be present, aware, going inwards, rather than outwards. ‘Being’ allows us time to reflect, to connect with ourselves (and others), to build a sense of knowingness, understanding and recognition.

The reality of Being and Doing

‘Being’ allows us to lean into what is living for us in any moment. ‘Doing’ may mean sometimes, this is overlooked. ‘Being’ can help us to be aware of what is occurring, any triggers that may be elevating, any emotions that might be surfacing. ‘Doing’ (this trance like state) can prevent us from sensing this. ‘Being’ grants us space, time and acceptance. It empowers us to be present. ‘Doing’ (consistently) can contribute to a build-up of issues that can (eventually) stop the flow of any/all of our productivity. Being is our natural state, something that does not prevent ‘doing’, rather enhances it, enabling it to flow, effortlessly into existence. ‘Being’ and ‘Doing’ can co-exist in harmonious partnership.


For some people, the very concept of considering ‘being’, alongside ‘doing’ might feel odd. Why would I do that? I haven’t got any time at all as it is, what good would come of me adding something else into my life? I can hardly get done what I already have to do. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with it all anyway. No, it’s not for me.

Being does not mean 'adding to', rather, 'taking away'. Consider these prompts:

How am I feeling right now in this moment?

What does my body feel like from the inside?

What am I noticing within myself, right now?

Am I connecting to my senses?

Can I feel my own body, without ‘thinking’ about it?

Can I connect to the source of me and feel that, behind all the ‘stuff’?

'Being' doesn't replace, or detract from 'doing', it aids productivity and revitalises energies.

Returning to this place and checking in can be so powerful in ensuring that we tend to our own needs, that we aren’t overlooking our very essence. It can help us stay nourished, grounded, purposeful and alive.

What if we could remember how to give ourselves that attention and allow ourselves to ‘be?’

What might our lives look like if we could do that?


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