Week 2 Day 4: Being
Question: How do you picture a day spent “being” – as opposed to “doing”?
Write your Answer – click here
Share: #ssjetime #being
Transcript of Video:
A few weeks ago there was a feature in the Boston Globe called Reflection for Today and it was in Spanish. It’s an old Spanish proverb, and I think it goes something like this: “Qué hermoso es no hacer nada y descansar después,” which I think means, “How beautiful it is to do nothing and afterwards rest.” I think it’s a wonderful way to think of the Christian life, because after all, as creatures made in the image and likeness of God, we are to be human beings not human doings.
-Br. Mark Brown
“How beautiful it is to do nothing and afterwards rest.” What a radical idea! What it says to me is, “Being” takes focus, concentration, intention. It’s “work.”
How do you picture a day spent “being” – as opposed to “doing”?
It’s a day of hypervigilance. It reminds me of a drawing class I had in college, where our teacher challenged us to see differently. Look at how light describes things. Focus on light, then dark. See how a shape you know changes to new shapes, smaller, larger, more abstract. Look for the nuances in color. Look at a hill of trees and see how many greens there are, or notice that it is not all green.
Being to me is like that. I’m in a world that I choose to see differently even though nothing within it changes. It’s also broadening out to all my senses. Listening more closely, smelling what’s in the air, feeling how my body is touched by the ground I walk on, the object I sit on, what I hold in my hands and so forth.
“Being” in this way is hard. It is a kind of work. But when I can do it – even for a few minutes – it’s a loving practice. It’s also very nurturing for me, feeding me in ways I can’t usually describe only know.
I never thought of resting afterward, like the Spanish proverb, but now that I think about adding that, it makes so much sense. Rest helps us take it all in as a whole, treasure it and enjoy the remembrances of what we’ve just done. I’ll have to add that to me Day of Being.
With family, friends (listenting), looking at art, listening to music, buying fresh produce and preparing a thoughtful meal, journaling, walking in nature, swimming, reading … this list could go on forever. There are so many choices to be – that may appear to be doing but are not, that are soulful.
I guess the closest I have come to this is the times I spent at various monasteries. I picture quietness and time to reflect without business or avoidance. Places set the tone for it sometimes. I remember the first time I was given the opportunity to let go and just be. It was at Jesuit house called Bellarmine. It was totally silent and I was doing a personal Retreat. The quiet disturbed me for half of the day afterward I was able to accept it and commune with God and myself. Being to me is the ability to let go and commune with Christ.
I had to read this a couple of times before the light went on. The proverb does not say do nothing all day, it just says do nothing and then rest. For me in my for daily life, that could be my time to stop and watch the birds from my kitchen window. Stop and take in the beauty of a child in the clinic – even for a second. Take a breath when I feel frazzled. Reset my mind. Look at the gifts of this crazy world. Then I will be stronger to seek answers for others and myself.
Being with my family and friends in dialogue is a value to me. A time when there is interaction and oneness with those I love. It requires me to get away from many distractions that range from, what I should do next, to putting my phone away for the day; knowing that what ever needs to be address can wait. It allows me to reflect on who and what is most important in my life. One of those Martha and Mary moments.
When I think of “being”, Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus comes to mind; sitting listening attentively to his every word, and loving him. I don’t think that “being” necessarily means doing nothing. It means resting, or abiding in Christ as we go about our daily tasks, loving him and listening to him like Mary did; being intentional. We can just “be” by truly being the person God made us to be. When we are like this, we find ourselves contentedly doing what needs to be done, aware that God is working in and through us, and will always be there for us.
To sit quietly at work or in my hammock. To just be present with my patients and their families.
I am “being” when, whatever I am involved in at the moment (vacuuming, counseling, walking in the woods, working at my desk….) I am totally present— and not at all rushed, not at all multitasking, not at all distracted.
I am being in a big way in my early morning meditation time.
And, I am being when I am in relationship and present, conversing/communicating, with another or others whether 4 footed or 2 footed others…..
I can picture several scenarios. My favorite day of just being would be spent alone at a quiet comfortable spot surrounded by nature, with all connections to the world completely cut off—no technology of any kind, not even anything man-made in view, if possible. Another option would be to have a day to be with and talk with all the people I love—that is, really share and be together, not just fill the time with small talk. And I’d want to have this chance with dear ones who are already gone. And though it involves doing, I guess, in the strictest sense, I would love to have another day at Disneyland with my friend J. The one time I got to go with her, we had the best time just being joyful and enthusiastic about everything. We acted like kids. It was great! And it was so different from my experience of going with other friends and family in recent years because we didn’t care about being silly. One experience I remember of being rather than doing was when I was making a six-hour drive from Southern to Northern California. On that particular day, I chose to not turn on the radio or listen to an audio book. Instead, I just thought—and talked to myself and to God. As I watched the miles of agricultural land pass by, I was thankful for every dairy cow, every grape vine, every almond tree, every section of field crops. I was in the being mode that day as I covered the miles, and at the end of my drive I knew that I had communed with God and his nature.
I love the laughing comment. Oh yes, laughing is being. So is crying. Listening to music, especially opera. But I don’t see a total separation between being and doing. When I do what I love–engaging with my students in a seminar or playing with my grandchildren– I forget the distinction.
I find that my picture of a day spent “being” as opposed to “doing” doesn’t emerge so much as a difference of doing some things or doing nothing at all. What I picture is a day spent attentively, with what flows from that: joy, gratitude, praise, graceful participation. I am here. Noticing, as I move through the day, not being pushed around by pseudo realities. Conscious. Aware.
I have never really gotten the hang of “being vs. doing.” About 20 years ago a good friend first made me aware that I am a” doer” and not a “be-er.” As I have read through the comments, I have come to the idea (at the present anyway) that for me “being” means being present in the moment and not having a to-do list, as well as trying to emulate the being-ness of my dog and cats.
Like many others I find it hard to just “be” at home with all the distractions of “need to do”. So this morning I will take make a bike ride to the beach where I can concentrate on the sound of the waves and the beauty surrounding me.
This one is difficult for me. Thank you to everyone for all your comments, particularly those who have journeyed on the Santiago. I find it hard to be not doing and just being. I do not paint or sew but I do like to be in the sanctuary of my own home, and being for me would be feeding the birds, sitting in our conservatory watching the birds and, on a nice day, with the doors open just sitting and listening to the sounds around. At the moment strolling to church down the bridle path, listening to the bird songs, looking at the wonderful array of snowdrops and willow catkins and thanking God for seasons and for His wonderful world and be thankful for the beautiful place that we live.
A day spent being is a day with out a rigid schedule and to do list. It is difficult for me to not have a schedule and to do list.
When I first saw this question I thought of all the times I had used that phrase “we are human beings not human doings” and how much I don’t live by its offer and promise. I imagined a day feeling guilty and unproductive. Yet as I come back to it this evening, I realize that I have actually spent most of today in “being”. Waiting in outpatients at the hospital for the numbers to tick by until mine appeared so I could register and then waiting for the nurse to call my number to go through to the lab and then waiting in the corridor for the nurse to come again to take me for a cardiogram. Waiting and watching and wondering and praying for all the other patients and whatever brought them here today. The rest of the day spent in chance encounters and visits, a day spent listening, being a presence for people.
Prayer, meditation, nature, no tasks, silence.
Being….Being me, being mom, being a wife, being an employee. Sometimes I just want to be nothing….
If only! I would be sitting atop Henning Hill in Melcombe Bingham, enjoying the spectacular views of the countryside around me. Feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, listening to the chitter chatter of the birds and glorifying in the complete tranquility.
Be still and know that I am God. I could take any day and just be instead of doing. A lot could happen in that day. If I still my anxiety or fears in the faith that God will do for me, then I can just be. Kind of simple. But not easy for the doer in me.
I’ve found it REALLY interesting to read how many seeing ‘being’ as past times & hobbies. I liked the idea of ‘being in the here. & now’ focusing & being in the moment loving someone – being attentive & giving to them. ‘Be still & know that I am ‘God’ comes to mind. Christian Meditation or contemplation or anything where we are focusing on God – is that ‘being?’ Being in God’s image.
It would be doing something I love, perhaps quilting or gardening without any distractions, no radio, company, etc.
I’d spend a day being sitting in stillness, walking in nature, reading and reflecting.
Being…Here’s something I wrote in 2013 –
Just to Be –
In you, Lord.
Like the flowers,
and the birds
and the trees.
Like the flowing stream
and rolling seas,
the bitter wind,
the lovely breeze.
Apparently they have no trouble,
never seem to have to struggle
to be what You created them to be.
Oh Lord, why is it such a trial for me?
Just to be?
July 17, 2013
Just LET GO of the WORDS … and the thoughts of things that don’t really matter…..
To wander through the day with curiosity.
Being is when I stop…or slow down enough to enjoy the things I do and remember the reasons I do them.
How wonderful. Just allowing ourselves to be
Great for me, because I’m such a procrastinator. ‘Doing’ is much harder for me than ‘being.’
I am thinking that a day of being as opposed to a day of just doing could be a day of full awareness of what I am about and a taking of pleasure in that, pleasure in its worth and in its connectedness with something outside of myself.
A day spent being? For me, it would involve some physical activity—vigorous exercise, which I enjoy. Or maybe a yoga class. But some type of movement. Then I would take a book that I’m really involved with to Prospect Park and read. One thing I would also do, were I to really commit to being, would be to leave my cellphone at home. It pulls me out of “being” or even doing what I’m doing without stopping, constantly. So, no phone. Then maybe a walk with my husband and a good movie or dance performance or something that night. That’s the short version—it’s a day I haven’t had for a long time.
I have two cats, they spend a lot of time just being. They do not feel the need to be constantly doing something. They do not feel guilty if they are not being productive.
As T.S. Eliot said “A cat is a cat, and that’s that.”
Maybe I really should take a page out of my cats’ book on just being.
Being would probably begin eith going for a walk and trying to be present to the woodsy surroundings….reflecting on what it says to me about God. I would want to include reading, but that so often leads to a kind of mental “doing”.
A day spent being is when I’m completely present in every moment; I’m not thinking ahead of what’s coming next, or worrying about what’s been done…rather, I’m living in the present, fully in communion with God, with the world around me, and with myself.
I visualize sitting, like Mary, at the feet of Jesus and listening to and learning about him. Loving him and being aware that he loves me. After that I would just sit quietly and meditate on what I had learned.
Get up early go to the beach and sit and breathe and pray. Help community in some way and then read on shaded deck and meditate. Take a walk or exercise and go into town evening time and end my day listening to something beautiful.
Go outdoors–hike, go to beach, look at God’s creation.
Eat leftovers–no cooking
Ignore chores, do something fun, play
Connect with friends and family
Cultivate your grateful heart.
Pet your pet.
Enjoy your garden without working in it.
Read for hours.
Doing seems involve getting things done and being concerned about achieving and being good enough for others or for some external idea of what I imagine others require of me. Being is, I suppose, a more receptive state – it involves listening, noticing, sensing, but also drifting, dreaming, letting the mind and body get soft and spacious. Then I know God’s presence very easily.
At first I thought of being away from my home and routine – preferably on the beach, with the sound of the waves – reading, walking, enjoying the water and no schedule. Then I thought it may be more about not feeling I must be ticking things off on the “to do” list – and getting my sense of worth from such “accomplishments.” Then I thought that my dog was a perfect example of “being” and enjoying life – eating, playing, sleeping, loving non judmentally. Then I thought it is more about being present to whatever one is “doing” because much of life is about doing…
By spending the day in God’s face. I would not leave the house while reading the Bible and praying all day
By “being” you are “doing,” so I guess I don’t entirely understand the question.
A day “being” is being where God wants me to be at that time … it is always joyful being where you are supposed to be. Yesterday it was a lovely quiet day with great music, a great speaker, time to reflect quietly, and wonderful people to share it with.
When I’m camping, everything that usually feels like a to-do at home becomes a to-be outdoors. This is especially noticeable in how much I enjoy “housekeeping” at a picnic table.
A whole day of being! Wow, that would be a challenge. I do like to stop in the middle of a task and watch life around me – the fish swimming and living their lives in the tank in my studio/office, the bees, spiders, mice, and snakes looking for food in my garden. I have spent a solid 30 minutes watching a dragonfly hunting in my yard, marvelling as he landed on the same spot on the board next to where I was sitting, to (audibly!) crunch through his meals. Another period of being is “primrose racing” on summer evenings, spending close to an hour watching the evening primroses open as the sun goes down, and then watch the hummingbird moths discover the new blossoms, flitting from one to the next, while the bats swoop overhead.
Just being and not doing, what a grand idea. Being a typical American, and being taught the “work ethic” at an early age, I find those rare times I am able to just be rather than do, I find myself looking around to see if someone is watching me.
I have found since I have retired that just being is getting easier. I, at times, still have the old voice telling me I should be doing something. I guess I have a ways to go before I can just BE.
Being present in each moment as it occurs. For me, this is easiest in the outdoors, in silence.
Spending quality time with my dogs because they are to me the models of “being,” and they find so much joy in just being. They like being active, but they have no itinerary, and they appreciate long afternoon naps.
I loved the message today: “We are human beings, not human doers.”
I have started experiencing moments of being drawn away from what I am doing and asked to “Stop, be still.” It is a remarkable feeling. I am remembering what it is like to be totally available to God. I find that I don’t have to GO anywhere in particular, just be still. This series has reawakened a sense of joy in seeking God in everything I do. The moments come and I obey. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
I suppose its a question of motivation, inspiration and evaluation;
I am a child of God, a bearer of the image of God, a priest, therefore … and then today was …thanks be to God.
Just “being” is when I feel taken out of myself — with pencil and sketchpad in hand, for instance. When I drive over the bridge on the way to the beach, tears roll down my cheeks, and when I am barefoot on the sand I sing the Doxology to the waves.
I can only imagine how beautiful that is for you and for nature, itself.
I haven’t spent a whole day at it, but when I go out on Plumb Island in Newbury, MA, I almost feel it would be a sacrilege to take something with me to “do”. It’s a wildlife sanctuary, a place where I feel protected and free to observe God’s amazing creation, draw, bike ride, stroll and to lie down to rest on the beach. It’s usually a Sunday afternoon and the parking lots are full, but there’s ample room for everyone, and we seldom meet. A quiet politeness murmured by persons, toing and froing on the boardwalk, illustrates the appreciative awe felt by everyone A beautiful place to just be.
To be totally present to another…
incredible thought that we could just simply “be” for an hour, a half-day or a day…but how many of us could actually accomplish this?
I wrote about this yesterday. It is a good rule of thumb when one feels
overwhelmed by the ‘to do list.’ I also take an ‘artist’s date’ by myself sometimes. This could be a nature walk, museum visit, or looking at collectibles in an antique store. No purchase is necessary for me to just look and be inspired by things of beauty, whether natural or man made.
A “Being” day for me would include: prayer, breathing mindfully, swimming, hiking on a trail near a lake, eating ice cream, talking to those I love.
After reading all of the above comments, I’m now thinking that being would mean being fully engaged in whatever activity I am involved in, whether it be sitting outside enjoying the view of the Sandia Mountains or doing the dishes.
I agree. There is a wonderful feeling of being in being fully involved in what you are doing without what came last or will come next.
Being would end up have the doing being fruitful and present.
Being: reading a book, sitting on the deck in the summer watching the birds, walking for no particular reason except to enjoy the walk…
I call this a day spent ‘letting my soul float.’ It feels like what I am intended to be – human, open, responsive to what is around me, ageless. It’s odd that I work myself into a state where I think I don’t have time to ‘do nothing’. I am so very appreciative we have this Lenten study to recalibrate how we view our time.
This is a hard one in that I don’t think i have ever spent a day just being. I often have moments or hours, including seeing the slant of sun on a fence when walking, dew drops on a rose, silence with God, painting, listening to music, seeing beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Moments – a lot of them – but not a day. I think i would like to try a day.
It would mean paying attention to each moment as it unfolds and being in awe of God’s gift of time. I think I would prefer it to be a spontaneous kind of day because I am a more spontaneous type of person but it could happen just as if not more easily as a part of a routine.
Very, very slowly read from Psalm to really absorb the messagess.
Then sit among the sheep in the rolling countryside of Nnorthern Scotland or western Ireland and take in, with all my senses, God’s creation.
Then just listen; first to God then to classical music. A dram of whisky would be nice too.
I would spend the day without my “to do” list for starters. Not thinking about the chores and items I want to accomplish that day, rather thinking about the experiences I want to have that day – but not in a “tick off the box” way. Immersing myself in experience, being present to my feelings.
Thank you for this. It is perfect timing. I have been roaring through the to-do list for two days and got home with an hour that I could choose to face more “to-do’s,” or just be. I really should do them…I am late, I will feel better if they are done. The sun is streaming in the windows. The family is gone and it is peaceful. I could get away with doing nothing for an hour, just maybe…
My favorite book when I was a kid was “Ferdinand,” about a bull who just wanted to sit quietly, and didn’t understand the other active bulls. I love being sick; I could spend – have spent – weeks looking at the trees through the window. So I am looking at the trees now. I can give myself to the activity of life this afternoon.
would you permit a moment of levity?
(I am not sure of all the attributions for the following quotations.)
“To be is to do” – St. Augustine
“To do is to be” – St. Paul
“Do be do be do” – Frank Sinatra
Great! – a laugh is another wonderful way of just being!
I think it was Richard Rohr that introduced me to the term (his term, I think) of “walking meditation.” And that coincides nicely with the Benedictine idea of combining doing with being, provided the doing component is repetitive and doesn’t require one’s thinking to accomplish anything. So, for me that’s gardening or these days showshoeing through the deep snow with my dog running circles around me. In both of these activities I find I can allow my mind to “go blank,” and things just float in and out of it. Many times I have moments of understanding and inspiration to things I wasn’t even aware I was thinking about.
A day of being~Praying, reflecting, thinking, thanking, loving, feeling. Peace
A day of being…snorkeling, watching the waves come in on the beach, standing in the waves and feeling the sand bury them. Standing on South Point and seeing and feeling the power of the ocean, clambering over the rocks.
Time to not focus on what has to be done, but to focus on what can be seen, felt, heard.
There are a couple of images that come to mind of a day spent being rather than doing. One is day spent enjoying God’s creation whether it is on a sunny beach with the ocean calm, resting, walking, swimming or on the back of fishing boat just floating along. Another would be a day without specific plans but spending time with family or friends being in one another’s company. Either way it would seem setting aside my agendas and plans to enjoy what God will bring into my moments or day.
I don’t know well how just to be. Others seem to demand that we do something to justify our existence. When we are right with God we are what we ought to be.
A wise counselor of mine gave me a piece of paper on which the following quotation is printed.
It is obvious that an eagle’s potential will actualize itself in roaming the sky, diving down on small animals for food, and in building nests.
It is obviouse that an elephant’s potential will actualize itself in size, power, and clumsiness.
No eagle will want to be an elephant, no elephant to be an eagle. The “accept” themselves, they accept them “selves,” they don’t even accept themselves, for this would have the background of possible rejection. They take themselves for granted. No, they don’t even take themselves for granted, for this would imply a possibility of otherness. They just are. They are what they are what they are.
How absurd it would be if they, like humans, had fantasies, dissatisfactions and self-deceptions! How absurd if the elephant, tired of walking the earth, wanted to fly, eat rabbits, and lay eggs. And the eagle wanted to have strength and thick skin of he beast.
Leave this to the human: to be something they are not: to have ideals that can not be reached, to be cursed with perfectionism so as to be safe from criticism and to open he road to unending mental torture.
I see myself “being” on the beach with my young children jumping the waves and walking along the water. Being unemployed, I see myself “being” while reading a good book or just watching the birds feed at the bird feeder, especially the beautiful cardinals.
I feel like I’m “being” right now. I have nothing scheduled this morning and while I have things to do I know if I get to them before the early afternoon all will be well. I’m not pressing, I’m not pushing. I will simply “do” when the time comes. This question today has made me aware of this “being,” which I hope will allow me to recognize such moments and appreciate them more often.
What a good idea. I find I actually get anxious that I’m missing something when I have a morning like that. I’m like “what? I’m not behind the 8 ball? ” But sometimes perhaps I should have the faith that I”m not.
This is a challenging question for me. I have a lot of time to spend now just “being” but it often doesn’t feel peaceful, lots of expectations in my mind. I think a “being” day would be at the beach, early morning alone, then time with family, a nice dinner.
Time spent at the monastery is where I am able to be rather than to do. I go there with that intention . Of late I have been trying to better understand the intersection between being made in the image and likeness of God and embracing the God who dwells within…” he became what we are so that we might become what he is.” In that place of intersection rests vocation ….not as a job but as a being…. those intentional moments in my life where ” my deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Moments where I am certain I am being not doing….be it writing, or deeply listening, or swimming or baptizing….
Wonderful question (and what an inspiring quotation Brother Mark has offered). I think that I would describe a day spent ‘being’ as a day of love and reflection, a day of being open to the moment without the distractions of work, entertainment, or commerce – an ‘inward’ day rather than an ‘outward’ day.
Being while doing whatever I do prayerfully us the best whole day of being I can imagine…
I picture a day of just “being” as me “riding” as opposed to “driving.”
I spend my early morning hours in Silence. Being with God in contemplation, meditation and prayer.
A day “being” for me means a day of letting things happen as they unfold and not trying to plan or control every minute. It is living or being in the moment not worrying about what to do next.
Linda B., you’ve said it for me. I would add puttering. Puttering is my favourite way of being.
For me it’s a day where I take time out from meeting expectations- especially my own.
When we get away to our little house in Vermont, I somehow feel free to read during the day, nap after lunch, lie on the floor and pet the dog for a long time, cook slowly and inefficiently, play card games or scrabble with my husband, take a walk without counting miles or time….I love being, but it is much harder to do in my home/work place, so getting to Vermont really helps.
It would be nice if it was one of leisure, just relaxing and enjoying quiet. However, it seems it should be more real – if we are to “be” all the time. It should be a change in intentionality: many of the same actions, but the motivation behind them focused on being who I am called to be, not distracted by shallower focus. I think it would be a very restful way of life.
Even my being is doing. Sitting here looking out at this beautiful winter landscape, the dogs wandering by out there and birds at the feeder, and I’m still thinking about how I can be and not do and how to describe this and so on and so forth. I need to learn how to let all that go so that I can just be. It’s my constant challenge.
A day of human-being rather than a day of human-doing is allowing more space for God’s great presence. Turning off the radio, turning off music, setting aside my iPhone, resisting to check the weather and on and on… turning off constant input of information that places me in a state of mind to react to input. In this space, I have a greater sense of God’s full provisions provided for me. I become more aware of my shelter, my meals, my family, my work that God calls me to do. In being – a bit of the scales fall from my eyes and I see God’s glory in greater fullness. I strive less and become more present in the moment. This is where I find a peace that surpasses my understanding and I am able to love more fully.
One February at the monastery of Gethsemane I was able to spend a lot of time watching snow fall. Later I would go out and see what creatures had gone that way before me. I remember that week as a true high point in my life
Yes, I remember a week of being on retreat when I spent a lot of time just looking out the window watch the snow fall. Watching the birds and rabbits come and move about in the soft light. Just sitting. Just being
I picture that today I will stop and enjoy the beauty of the day. I will take time to pray when I am walking up the stairs to work. I will enjoy the beauty of the snow when it comes tonight.
I’ve been trying for years to get better at being in the present. To me that means letting down the barriers between my self and all of creation around me and feeling part of something much bigger than myself. Being in nature is the easiest way to feel this but it can also happen in a brief encounter with the grocery clerk. Any day, I think, can be a day of being if one can stay mindful about everything one is doing. One of the best books I’ve read about this quest is Gerald May’s The Wisdom of the Wilderness. Ultimately, its all about connection with God.
To fil my day with a sense of being means that all the work I do flows from what I am. When I am being a nurse I engage in a caring relationship with patients. When I bathe a patient I will bathe him/her differently than if I am doing a task. When I am being a parent I will be a gentle disciplinary guide. When I am teaching how to tie shoes I will be engaged, not absent. To stop doing and start being doesn’t mean the work ends. The work is transformed from a task to an act that shows what I am.
Yes – lovely!
I love the thought that if I start “being,” my work can be transformed into something beautiful and self-revelatory. It reminds me of the way Jesus lived his life. Thank you for sharing this insight!
Being loved. Being useful. Being entertained. Being alone. Being with.
For me, “being” is enjoying a good friend in silence, soaking in God’s kingdom all around us.
I would have to be away from home to spend a day only being. Even then, as with so many worthwhile endeavors, it would take a great deal of practice to “be”……just be. I’m discovering a sense of it in Centering Prayer.
My picture of a day spent being and not doing: sleeping until I’m well rested, laying there in and out of as I wake and daydream. Spending quiet time with God and not feeling rushed to ‘get through.’ Healthy breakfast, enjoying each bite. Walking, drawing, reading, playing my horn, catching up with friends and family, resting, cooking… What a great Day!
I guess it would boil down to intentionally letting go of any Shoulds for that day of Being, releasing any expectations, and instead opening myself to the flow of life in and around me. There’s so much wonder in the world, even in something as humble as watching a bumblebee in a zinnia or birds at a feeder. There’s majesty in the swoop of a hawk against the clouds, the play of sun through an ancient maple, breezes ruffling the leaves, and joy in my dogs playing with sheer in-the-moment abandon. Being, for me, means slowing down enough to notice these things, to see their beauty, and to be in the flow of life with them. I don’t have to Do anything for them to come, I only need to Be there and Be open. Writing this, I am keenly aware of how much more of this sort of thing I need in my life.
A “sabbath” day for me includes rising early for a day marked by leisurely praying of the 4-fold Daily Office, a long morning walk on the woods with my Golden Retriever, eating healthy meals, nap after lunch, reading, writing, listening to music and early to bed!
Being not doing…mmm… what an amazing question! I’m wondering if for me it’s being present in the doing. Not doing things automatically but being …..
At first that was a tough one… then I remembered my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. For almost six weeks, I simply walked. It may sound like I was “doing,” but in actuality I was “being.” I have tried since then to walk without music or distraction, and it has become very soothing. As for resting after? Well, on the Camino de Santiago, resting was being with newly made friends. I guess resting here at home would be time spent enjoying family and friends; perhaps reading or knitting.
A day spent “being” is an unplanned day with nothing on the schedule where I go where I am called. It may be a long newspaper read, some exercise, a phone call or two and often some cooking and puttering around house and garden. I move with the spirit rather than the calendar. I would like to do this every week but that seldom happens. Hmmm!
I am so with you…when nothing is having to be done, that can be the best day!
A day in which I am present.
to be is to love and that is creation for 6 days.
Very hard but still leaves one ‘doing ‘ something. A day , perhaps , in which one focuses on the ‘being ‘ aspect of a persom: being a good human, i.e. a good mother, grandmother, wife, frriend, ,neighbour, . Christian etc.
Muriel, that is what it was like to walk the Santiago de Compostella. Of course, one didn’t always realize it until much later as it was about the journey (of being) rather than the destination. Not sure that made sense…. but I came home working at being a better, kinder, more compassionate person after six weeks of “being.”
It is about the focus, isn’t it.
I love to think about that walk (not done/been it), but on walks with my dog, I pretend that it’s my Santiago…only one hour though!
Ahhh, but that hour of being!
I feel most truly myself when I am doing art – drawing, painting, writing poetry, prose, playing piano. A day of being would for me be a day of overriding my inertia critic so I can be truly human.
That’s “inner critic”, but inertia works too!
Yes, I really like “inertia critic”!
For me, being the artist I am is, to clarify, being, not doing. Being who I am in God. I know it’s hard to understand, since to create are means I do something – take up brush, pencil, paints. Yet for me, to be authentic in what and who I am is the essence of to be. Maybe the difference is this: I don’t paint or draw or write in order to create a product. I do it in order to be. I don’t play the piano for others, I’m not that good, nor is my instrument. I play for myself, before God, in order to be. Yes I also do other seemingly non-productive things – walk in the woods, watch the birds at the feeder – all this feeds the artist in me, my genuine God-made being. I write this for those who may be struggling to strip out all “doing” to pure simply being. For me to do that would be to sit in meditation for 24 hours, for which I am not constituted, and even to do that is to do something. One of the differences between Sabbath time, and the other seven days of the week, is that what we do as we Sabbath is a foretaste of our end. Maybe even the words “doing” vs “being”, as if in opposition to one another, does not necessarily help us get there. But it is a beginning.
Thanks for your comments. They are very relevant to my life and interests.
Amen. In art we function as a channel of the creative force becoming in our small way co-creators with God, translating what He puts in our hearts into a more visible or tangible form. I have had experiences where I felt as if I were just the hands being given the gift of making that particular piece of art. I found the end result became something far different than what I’d thought I had in mind at the start, much better, actually, and then heard feedback of how that piece had spoken to someone where they desperately needed it. That was an intensely humbling and uplifting experience! For the artist the world is message and metaphor, and even something as prosaic as washing the dishes can become something entirely new when it is transformed into another form.
I have spent time just being. This was after periods of mental exhaustion (studies). I remember a beautiful, sunny day by the waterside, communing with the sight and sound of the waves crashing on or lapping the shore. I also remember a day, when at 4:00 p.m., I suddenly realised that ‘I have not turned on the TV or radio and have not heard a voice for hours’ (a shoreline was not available). I felt ‘its okay, tomorrow will be good’. And it was so good.
For me, human being means humans in relation to each other, or to God.
A lot of my life is interacting with other people, and is in this I feel most human, and feel that the opportunity to be is greatest.
What a wonderful thought!! Thank you. I shall meditate on that today.
Early morning walk on the beach or to work and taking in the sights and sounds of the day.
Follow up the walk with a few hours on a reclining chair on a shaded beach alternating between reading and sleeping.