Doing vs Being


Walking onto the back porch before the sun has made its way over the roofline and the dew is still glistening on the grass, has a way of instantly relaxing the built up tension in my shoulders from a restless night. As I drop into a corner chair with coffee in hand, a huge sigh releases. A welcome feeling of gratitude emerges as I recognize the gift of the next few minutes I’ll spend quietly reflecting, sipping the perfect cup of coffee, listening to the birds chattering away, and taking stock of how blessed I truly am.

It’s easy to get lazy when life becomes busy. The busier I am, the lazier I get. The more productive I am at doing life, the less energy I put into being alive. It’s easy to believe I have no choice. I have obligations, responsibilities, people depending on me.

  “If it were only me, I’d do things differently. I would eat healthier, exercise regularly, go to sleep earlier, read more books, write everyday…”

It’s easy to convince myself that this is my reality when in truth, reality is what we create for ourselves. Each day I make a choice as to how I spend my time and energy, how I direct my thoughts, and how I feel about what I am doing. It’s easier to “do life” than to truly “be alive.”

What does “doing life” look like? It looks busy, stressed, hectic, productive, important. It looks like long To Do Lists with a lot of check marks, a calendar with no empty space, and a day that zooms by without conscious attention to exactly what is taking place. It looks like events to plan, clients to serve, family to care for, parties to attend, causes to champion, letters to write, phone calls to make, houses to clean, and no time for reflection, gratitude, or rest.

We convince ourselves that our purpose in life is “doing” and the more “doing” we accomplish, the more successful we are. We believe doers are the strongest and most successful in life but this is simply an idea we choose to believe. In reality, doers are lazy. Those who are busy doing are afraid of being. To do is easy. We can be taught to do most anything and if not, we can find someone to help us. Most doing takes little conscious thought. We perform tasks robotically, efficiently, and routinely. Systematically, checking the boxes on our to do lists. Driving the same route to work each day oblivious to our surroundings. Doing can be exhausting but doing does not require strength and it does not equal success. Doers avoid the hard work by staying busy with the mundane.

Being alive is not for the faint of heart or the lazy. Being takes courage. Only the strong are able to sit in the quiet, to look inward at the darkness and see throughto the light. It isn’t easy to consistently make conscious choices, to listen to intuition and ask ourselves the Why before planning the How. To trust that fulfilling life’s purpose is tied to something greater than ourselves and to allow intuition to lead us on the path to fulfillment is hard. It can be scary and extremely uncomfortable. It’s much easier to fill our time with work and obligations, all the while believing we have no choice.

This morning I realize I’ve recently fallen back into the trap of “no choice” and it isn’t the first time this has happened. In fact, this is a fairly solid pattern I’ve created. Over the past six or so years, I’ll dive deep into the area of self-discovery for a period of time. Doing the hard work, I’ll connect with inner intuition, glimpse life purpose, and taste my true passion. Coming out of the experience, I’m energized and determined, feeling I know what I’m here to do and excited for the journey ahead only to be distracted by the busyness of life shortly thereafter. Often I’ll beat myself up for falling into the trap of doing yet again.

  “What’s wrong with me? I know better. Why can’t I do better?”

But trying to do better is exactly the problem. Life isn’t about doing and the harder I try to do, the further I am from actually living. Life is about allowing, letting go of expectation and trusting the Divine path that is set before us. We are all part of a universal stream of energy that flows swiftly and effortlessly toward our life’s purpose. Being aware of this energy and trusting our place within it is all that is required in order to participate in the abundance that life has to offer.

Imagine this stream of energy like a river with each of us in our own little canoe. If we are so busy paddling our canoe that we don’t take the time to notice the direction of the river’s flow, we might spend our lives paddling furiously upstream, never making any real progress. But, if we pick up our paddles and sit quietly long enough to become aware of the flow of the water, we soon feel our canoe floating along swiftly in the flow of universal energy. Life isn’t meant to be a struggle but picking up our paddles can be scary. It means giving up what we see as control and letting go of the belief that busy equals success. It means trusting in something greater than ourselves. This takes courage and it takes strength. It takes forgiving ourselves when we get scared and start paddling furiously again. It takes the courage to pick the paddles back up and to sit quietly. It takes the occasional gift of a morning on the porch with a perfect cup of coffee.

“If your Why doesn’t make you cry, it’s not big enough”

I spent the morning responding to comment after comment from women who have read my article “An Open Letter to the ones who have never been assaulted.” The article was published 8 days ago and has been viewed 15,719 times by people from places I’ve never been. My husband has made it his daily mission to provide a visual so I can grasp how many people this is. Each morning he reports the name of a town with an equivalent population. So far, the towns have all been small coastal villages. That is comforting to me.

The words were written for myself. I shared them for my daughter and for my future granddaughters. Never did I expect that I was sharing them for women I have never met, women as close as South Carolina and as far away as South Africa and Australia. Women thanking me. Thanking me for sharing my story. Thanking me for speaking up, for being brave.

“Your timing is ideal. I needed this right now.”

“Courageous and touching. Thank you.”

“I’m not brave enough to speak up but it helps to know I’m not alone.”

“Thank you for sharing your story…our story.”

Women sharing. Voices joining. My eyes soak up their words. Their message makes it’s way into my mind, through my heart, and one by one passes back out as droplets from my eyes onto the keyboard. Connection, kindred spirits across the miles connecting through the written word. Seeking solace in knowing we are not alone. Gathering strength from each other in order to face and stand down that which has silenced us. We are stronger together. Our combined energy, a force to be reckoned with.

For  me, writing the article was cathartic. During the process I began to feel an inner shift, an ease, a confidence, a relief. I felt a need to place my story out into the world in a way that was more real, more tangible than the spoken word. I wrote for myself. What I didn’t realize is that I also wrote for my Self, my inner being coaxing me along, leading me closer and closer to others who shared my story.

“If your Why doesn’t make you cry, it isn’t strong enough.” Advice from a young man with an old soul made me pause and reflect. What is my Why? It’s the reason I do what I do, to pay bills. Some days, just to pay the water bill. My Why now expands beyond basic needs to include tuition, vacation, life insurance, and savings plans. All noble desires centered around family but never has any of it made me cry. At times it makes me anxious, disappointed, often frustrated, but I don’t believe it’s ever made me cry.

So today, I observe the eagerness with which I prepare my coffee and settle in for my morning routine. With a physical desire felt deep in my belly, I anticipate what I might read when I open the comments section. The stories, a thread connecting souls across time and space. Energy flowing. Strength growing. Whispers amplified when spoken through the megaphone of solidarity and understanding. Brave women reaching out with shaky hands to touch others to be assured and to reassure.


This is the Why that makes me cry.

Tears of understanding + Tears of connection = Tears of Joy

Skepticism vs A Closed Mind

I’m not gonna claim that I’ve found the proverbial “Fountain of Youth” or anything close to that, but these days you will find me sharing information with my friends and family about something that has in fact, changed my life.

For over four years, I’ve been drinking 2 ounces of an all natural liquid nutritional supplement each morning.  I more or less stumbled upon this product at work one morning when a co-worker bounced into the computer room at 7:45am with more energy than I had been able to muster in a very long time.

With a bit of sarcasm in my tone, I said to her, “I don’t know what you’re drinking this morning, but give me some.”  And she did.

With a huge smile she began to explain to me that the only thing she’d been doing different lately was drinking this “shot” of liquid nutrition each morning and she felt great.   For me it was a no-brainer, I’d give it a try.  So I set aside my usual regimen of vitamins for one month and started taking my shot.

Was I reckless and irresponsible for taking this supplement without first consulting my doctor?  Frankly, this thought never occurred to me until recently when a friend said he would have to talk to his doctor before he tried the Vemma I offered to him.  “Of course,”  I replied.  “And please, show your doctor the results of the studies that were done by Brunswick Labs which validate the results that I’ve personally experienced.”  Confident in the value of the information I had shared, and certain that his doctor wouldn’t have an objection to my friend tossing his bottles of over the counter vitamins for an all natural, plant sourced, liquid nutrition, I waited to hear what he found out.  In the meantime, I started thinking about this idea of asking one’s doctor before purchasing or consuming things.  I began to wonder how often people actually do this.

I can’t think of one time in my life that I called my doctor for her opinion before I bought vitamins at Harris Teeter or the GNC store.  Over the years I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on multivitamins, minerals, Fish Oils, Children’s vitamins, Women’s vitamins, protein powders, and weight loss supplements.  For me, if I bought something from a “nutritional center” (as proclaimed by the name of the store), then it was obviously good for me.

This led me to think of the many other items I had consumed over the years without consulting my doctor for her opinion.  Things like diet soft drinks, french fries, processed chicken nuggets, hot dawgs, gummy candies, margarine, microwave popcorn, artificial sweetners, ice cream, etc.  The list goes on and on.  Thankfully, I have eliminated most of these items from my diet but I know there are still areas that I could improve and that my doctor would recommend if I called her.  (Despite my efforts, there are chemicals in foods that I eat and unlabeled GMOs which slip past me.)

Not once did I call my doctor before purchasing and consuming any of these things, even though none of them were “naturally occurring healthy foods”.  I know I’m not alone here.  We, as a society will consume products based solely on marketing.  If it’s sold in a store or a restaurant, we will try it.  Rarely, do we question ‘what’ we are consuming if we are comfortable with ‘where’ we are buying it.  The recommendation of a stranger wearing a name tag in a store carries more weight than the personal experience of a close friend for most of us.  If it’s not sold in a retail store, we are skeptical.

Skepticism is not a bad thing, but close-mindedness is.  We have been programmed to trust that the more commercial something is, the more valid it is.

We complain about the system but when given another choice, we freeze, unable to open our minds and try something different.  We revert back to asking the opinion of people who are part of the system, scared of stepping out of the box.

I have tremendous respect for my doctor and I value her opinion, but I’m an intelligent woman with the ability to question and research for myself and that is what I choose to do.  Based on the evidence after four years, I’m feeling very confident about my decision.  🙂