Ever been so happy or self-satisfied and/or content with the present, that you basically didn’t give a Sh-t about the should’s and shouldn’ts of life? Umm, that is kinda what I have been going through for over a year. And well, after years of struggling to get to a place where I didn’t have to remain relentlessly vigilant over my moods. It was a surprise, to say the least to see that happiness allowed me to sink more into being than doing. And at times, I feel like the most understated rebel ever. How can I be so content with so little? Is there something wrong with me for not wanting to DO MORE and BE MORE?
Doing – is KING in our culture. And depression is the prime enemy of doing. Much of my life, I have been busy “doing” in order to avoid the reach the clasping claws of depression. And this “busyness” DOES work in order to keep depression at bay, if you never stop moving.
But what human being doesn’t stop moving? Who doesn’t sleep? Who doesn’t have a moment to themselves? Who doesn’t have quiet moments with others? Who can ENTIRELY avoid the errant feelings or queasy thoughts that can sicken one’s state of mind into depression, if one is prone to the affliction?
No one – The hard truth of depression, is that it can be, and certainly in my case it WAS a many-headed monster comprised of challenges that I needed to undertake with body, mind, emotion, and spirit. Each monster head, craved the correct nutrients in order to be vanquished. And this is why it is so much easier for folks to take a pill. And also, why it is so much easier to ALWAYS be busy. We are trying to outrun ourselves.
We are an escapist culture – that urges us to become GREAT – which means, for the most part, throwing ourselves into a frenzied focus of work and productivity; or to HAVE FUN – which means chasing parties, sex, drinking, drugs; to be RICH – which means again – dedicated activity toward positioning ourselves for opportunities, working to capitalize upon those opportunities and then pushing for growth; to be BEAUTIFUL – which means cultivation of what gifts you don’t have; and maintenance of what you do. In this culture we are not told we are enough, but rather that we could be so much GREATER than we actually are at this time in our own skin.
My situation at this time in my life is this – while I could see myself being content with my life of study, creativity and introspection – my doing for the sake of being, rather than doing for the sake of earning and producing for the external world is not supporting me sufficiently. And I must push past my present comfort zone of being entirely content with so little.
I never thought that after years of being primarily single, after plunging myself into unfathomable depths of school debt; of not having an absolutely clear focus; of being over 50; of looking back at a life of half drama-depression and the other manic adventure with no fame or fortune to bolster bragging rights … I never thought that this would be enough for a moment, let alone nearly two years of moments.
But the reality is – that BEing involves the moment, and each moment needs to be tied to what is relevant to our core, our truth. It doesn’t matter how much we do or say, or how many people look up to us, or how much money we make, or how fabulous we appear to be in the eyes of others – inspiring lust, envy, or admiration – none of this matters, if what we are doing doesn’t come from the truth of the moment.
But what IS that truth? For each of us, it is different, and for each moment it is different. Right now – I am struggling with doubts and fears – in spite of my general contentment. It is an odd juxtaposition, I know.
If one looks at doubts and fears, the same way one looks at aches and pains in muscles when you push them farther then they are used to … then doubts and fears aren’t so disturbing.
My truth of my moments these days – is figuring out – WHAT sort of work will allow me to the Do my life the way I want to —
What I have loved since I escaped grad school – was time, glorious time filled with –
Reading – at any time I am following numerous blogs, and actively reading half a dozen books. Presently I am reading Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking; Alan Cohen’s – Enough Already: The Power of Radical Contentment; Michael Pollan’s – A Place of my Own; William Goldman’s –The Princess Bride; Anne Fourtier’s – Juliet; and anything David Sedaris writes – especially in audiobook format!
Studying Italian mainly via apps – DuoLingo, Italian Ipod 101, Learn Italian Ipod
Teaching myself Accordion
Writing on my blogs
Developing design/visual skills – study/pursuit of anything from website design to photography
AND WAIT a minute – was I, or YOU under the delusion that I wasn’t DOING anything, but rather being?
It seems like I am DOING a LOT, but rather than leading to money or fame or fortune it is and has been leading to general contentment.
It seems that all I need is some sort of work, that will allow me the time and energy so that I won’t have to sacrifice the doing that comes from being … the being that says – I love to learn; I love ideas that stimulate me; I love to create things; I love to share my random thoughts on my random life … I love to be passionately engaged in an activity – just because it feels good, not because I SHOULD be doing it in order to make money or impress somebody.
None of this is shameful … but it isn’t producing a person that is even internet famous, or wildly or mildly successful by the terms of society. And is this okay?
I say that it is. What I know deeply, is that although I still struggle with how I FIT in the great scheme of the world, I am at peace with how I fit with me, how I fit with my friends, and my family. And THIS is what we all need in order to make our DOing an act of being, rather than an act of escaping our own dark selves.
So ask yourself – if you are feeling overwhelmed, drained, frazzled … How much of your doing is for the satisfaction of everyone or anything besides yourself? How about doing less of that, and more of what YOU want – switch out obligations for passions and you will find that it isn’t that you are doing too much, but rather you are doing too much of what you don’t want or possibly need to do.