Have you ever noticed at some point in our life we stopped asking ‘what do you want to be’ and started asking ‘what do you do?’
In fact, how often do you stop and actually think about who you are being on a human level?
Perhaps over the holidays (can’t believe we are nearly in March!) you got some time to slow down and reflect on your life. But, if you are anything like me since getting back to work mode after taking a break you’ve slipped right back into lots of ‘doing’ and busyness again. After all, it feels good to be achieving heaps of tasks and moving towards our goals, doesn’t it? Or have you like many other leaders, reflected back on your day, week, year knowing you have achieved heaps yet still don’t feel truly satisfied? That is because often this busy ‘doing mode’ can have us lose track of what really matters. Like enjoying moments of stillness, having spontaneous adventures or connecting deeply with others. After all, this is when I often have my best ideas and get those sparks of inspiration. This is also where we as human beings derive a deeper sense of fulfillment that goes beyond ticking something off a to-do-list.
So, as I do when I get curious about human behaviour I did some research to get a deeper understanding of how this works and I found that these modes of being and doing are linked to our left and right hemispheres of the brain.
What I discovered is the left brain is our external doing mode, which helps us operate in the world by getting us to focus on achieving a task, setting goals and getting things done. It’s what drives us to achieve, but how it does this is what I found really interesting. The left brain is really good at finding mismatches between how things are and how we think they should be. This is part of the human condition to continually contrast and compare. It’s our left brain that is constantly aware of what we don’t have or what is missing, which gives rise to feeling unsatisfied, and ungrateful. Which naturally motivates us to be in doing mode more because of our perceived deficit. This constant focus on what is lacking is one way to get yourself into action but it can also lead to a perpetual cycle of things not being good enough.
The right brain is associated with our internal experience of the world, it likes to be with what is, an intimate experience of the present moment. When we are in being mode our thoughts and feeling are simply seen as passing events in the mind that arise, become objects of awareness then pass. There is a sense of freedom and freshness as experiences unfold. Checking in with your internal experience can help you to be more responsive to the unique richness and complexity that each moment presents.
What I am learning is being mode is not a special ‘state’ in which all activity has to stop. Doing and being are both modes of the mind that can accompany any activity or lack of activity. For example; you can be sitting to meditate and have your doing mode switched on and find it really challenging or you could have the being mode happening while washing dishes and find you can drop into a mindful awareness of the temperature and feel of the water, the smells, and sounds etc...Being present to our inner experience while achieving in the world is the key to feeling fulfilled.
So, my question for you is how could you create more space for being verse doing in 2019?
Me, I’m focusing on being well and energised, being present and engaged, being curious and creative. To keep it really simple I am going to concentrate on my desired state of being by committing to doing these three things each day.
1. Gratitude practice – what am I grateful for today?
2. Meditating – there is a link below to a simple guided practice you may like to play with
3. Connecting with my body through intentional movement (playing with Taichi, dance classes and Pilates to mix it up)
Here is the link to a short mindfulness practice to have you switch out of doing and into being.
To your health and happiness,
Emma and The CLARETY Team
P.S. If you would like to focus more on the important things this year and how you show up as your best self each day then: