I watch our animals a lot these days. The goats lay in their houses and chew for hours. The dogs nap and wander and occasionally frolic. The kittens stalk things and sleep away the afternoons. And the chickens mosey through the run and peck at things from time to time. They seem very content.
Yet, I find myself worried that they are bored, my own anxiety of “not doing enough” creeping into my perception of healthy, at ease animals. I have always HATED being bored, and yet I know that quietness, stillness, a simple lack of input is essential to my health and creativity. I’m just not good at letting myself – or other creatures apparently – be.
Being instead of doing.
I’ve seen that phrase around a lot these days. I read it in Preston Yancey‘s idea that we are to “dwell” instead of “wait” when we are not sure where to go next. I saw a status update with the idea of doing less and living more. Someone shared a blog post on that theme.
Seems like we’re a little tired, a little busy, a little overstimulated as a culture.
At least I know I am.
I am so busy being busy that I find I’m not very good at “being” right now. So I am edgy and anxious, and I’m not sleeping well.
So I’m going to try to BE more, and here are the 5 things I want to get better at “being” with.
1. Being disconnected. P and I are making some changes to our life, and one of those changes is going to require that I be offline a lot more than I am now. I’m nervous, but I think this will also be a good thing in many ways.
2. Being in the presence of other people’s anger. I firmly believe that people should get angry when people hurt them, when there is injustice, when their favorite TV show has a terrible finale. But I’m not good at being with people in their anger, at just sitting there and letting them rage. Yet, to be a good friend, a good citizen, sometimes this is necessary, and I’m working on it.
3. Being silent. Since I make my life in words, I find that I often want to speak, even when silence is the best response. So I am working on holding my tongue – and my fingers – more and letting the silence speak what needs to be heard.
4. Being mindful. I work very hard to live today for today, but I often find myself projecting into tomorrow or next month or next year. I want to work on being mindful of this moment – of turning my full attention to what is before me now.
5. Being still. I find it hard to just sit and stare, anymore. At least I feel like I used to do this more often. But even now, with so much beauty to stare into, I find myself drawn to my phone or to a chore, instead of to quiet stillness.
Those creatures that we have surrounded our days with have much to teach me – about stillness and being. Maybe I’ll learn to frolic in the fields, too.
What do you wish you could BE more? How do you find your way from doing to being?