Before I Discovered Doing, There Was Being

Before I Discovered Doing, There Was Being

toddler relaxed looking out the window

Before I discovered doing, there was being. Image by Jade.

Before I Discovered Doing, There Was Being

Before I discovered doing, there was being. Being was complete unto itself. Being was its own reward. Being was abundance. Untold, unobscured, primal, primary, primordial, pure.

There was a time before I discovered doing. And equated it with abundance instead.

Why Did I Stop Being?

My mother remembered that I would simply sit, and “entertain myself.” I think she meant I sat in a way that wouldn’t worry a mother if a very young child did it for long periods of time.

I can only imagine: I stopped doing this because I learned to stop. I learned to stop being and start doing.

What Was So Exciting About Doing?

I honestly can’t remember when being lost its appeal. I can’t remember why.

I can’t remember when I developed this relentless voice murmuring (when it is not shouting) that there is one more thing I still need to do to feel I have the right to be alive.

The Subtext of Doing

Underneath, the doing voice is whispering: I’m not satisfied. I’m still not worthy of my life. I’m not complete. I’m not worthy of all the resources that have been poured into me, my being, and my existence.

It says:

I could earn the right to live if I would only

do this

do that

do that third thing.

But there is always a fourth thing. It’s lying. There’s always tomorrow’s to-do list. (Since I am an efficient person, and have gotten today’s crossed off. Don’t believe the hype: you can never be efficient enough if efficient is your priority. The jig is up. Don’t play the game. Go ahead–be efficient but not for efficiency’s sake.)

Do Not Go Gentle into Doing

Dylan Thomas has a poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” There are things it is unhealthy to cooperate with. This is one of them: do not go gentle into doing.

If You Cannot Remember, Invent

For your own abundance, remember how to be. Go back to before you had words. If that is too painful, or if impossible, INVENT:

There was a time when you were not a slave, remember that. You walked alone, full of laughter, you bathed bare-bellied. You say you have lost all recollection of it . . . You say there are no words to describe this time, you say it does not exist. . . Make an effort to remember. Or, failing that, invent. [Monique Witting, Les Guérillères (the warrior women), translation by David Le Vay]

This phrase has stood with me a long while: remember–or failing that, invent. (A mentor  once said they were the same thing. I think this is because when we remember, we are always adding, subtracting–creating. Inventing.)

Invent Yourself Being

  • Pingback:We Earn the Right to Live by Truly Living - RAISING CLARITY
    Posted at 11:12h, 01 August Reply

    […] few weeks back, I mused about the period in my childhood that came “before I discovered doing.”  This, I reminded myself, was where RAISING CLARITY comes from: the return to that state, because […]

  • Marissa
    Posted at 02:51h, 28 June Reply

    My mother told me the same thing about myself as a child!!! I value hearing this from you I’d love to hear if you had any specific thoughts regarding capitalism and this state of “doing” and stress… since I know you’ve mentioned capitalism before. More specifically, I’d be interested in hearing: How does one escape the idea one must earn the right to live when one MUST earn? Do you think it’s a mindset shift?

    • Beth
      Posted at 13:35h, 29 June Reply

      Marissa, thank you so much for your question, and the image of you as a child, like me. I would love to write into this question. (The short answer is “yes.”) Thank you!

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