Be happy, gregarious, inquisitive…whichever adjectives you want, whatever qualities you feel are true to you. Actually be them. Embody them through the way you walk, the words you say, the foods you eat, the clothes you wear, the company you keep. And know that in being you, you are enough.
Somehow, we westerners have forsaken “being” in our relentless pursuit of “doing.” It’s as if, over time, we harnessed the parts of us that are active and productive, and started rewarding and lauding them without limit. A successful business person, therefore, must be the CEO of not one but five companies; a successful student attends Harvard undergraduate and graduate schools; a successful mother raises perfect kids while also keeping a clean house, making dinner and performing 110% at a job.
As a result, our society is tired. Tired of doing, doing, doing from the time we wake up and glance at our to-do lists, until the time we respond to the last email on that list, which might be just 5-minutes before bed. And, yet, even in our sleepy, adrenal-depleted, coffee-fueled state we desire to do more. And so, instead of trusting the sensation of sleepiness and simply sleeping, we study it (with millions of dollars in research) and pay for it both with money (buying medication, digital wrist bands) and our health (as sleep deprivation is associated with concerns from diabetes to heart disease).
Mind you, nothing is wrong with tiredness, research or private enterprise. Just like nothing is wrong with “doing.” But these days, “doing” has extended beyond its healthy and happy limits, and has overtaken the part of our lives that relates to “being.” Doing and being—like right and left, heaven and earth, wrong and right—are two sides of the same coin. Both sides exist simultaneously in an “and” (versus “or”) relationship, so that each side balances the other.
It’s akin to our body’s nervous system, with the “fight or flight” response helping us sprint from the lion, and the “rest and digest” response for restoration thereafter. Both responses are needed—if we utilize one to the exclusion of the other, we either don’t escape the lion or we live as if we perpetually are. In modern times, however, we worship the latter and thereby find ourselves in a perpetual mad dash. And even though there’s no lion involved for most of us, our bodies don’t really know the difference…and so we forget how to rest…and rest content in who we are.
You are likely familiar with the feeling of contentedness and wholeness that is unique to you. But these days, the feeling may be relegated to an hour over a good meal, upon an exhale at yoga class, or during a week of vacation time…that you worked overtime to earn. In other words, it’s not your regular state of affairs.
How would your life be different if it were? How would you feel if every day you lived your personal soundtrack of “I am enough”… without grades, job titles, social media followers or pounds on the scale required to prove it?
What I’ve learned thus far in life—and am still learning—is that it feels awesome. Like an inner harmony as doing organically arises from being. Like a reminder that, really, there’s nothing more to do than be, and—for as challenging as it seems—this birthright awaits to be accessed within you and me.
So what are you waiting for?! There’s no time like the present to go forth and be.