This is a busy week for me, it seems that there’s just so much to do. You ever have one of those? Unless you’re a hermit or living a completely sheltered life, then of course you have. As humans, particularly in this fast paced era, we’re very good at finding things to do. You’ve heard it said before, we become ‘human doings’, not ‘human beings’.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with doing and being busy. Doing, being active and accomplishing things is a necessary part of the human experiences. You must do to stay alive. You have to feed yourself, clothe and shelter yourself, if you’re a parent you have to take care of your kids and look after one another. That’s all doing and absolutely necessary.
In fact your body is doing all the time whether you’re consciously aware of it or not. Your heart beats, you breathe and your lungs expand and contract extracting oxygen from the air, your digestive tract processes the food you eat, the irises of your eye dilate and contract in response to different intensities of light, your brain constantly passes tiny signals among the billions of neurons. In this present moment and each and every second, you’re doing all this and so much more – all under the control of your unconscious mind.
Then there’s the conscious awareness of doing, the things that you more consciously choose to take on and do in your life. Doing tasks for your work, doing things at home, going here and there, planning and executing myriad activities each day. It can seem overwhelming at times, like there’s too much to do and to little time to do it in.
So this brings me back to my question in the title, “How are you doing?” I’m not asking about your health or how you feel. I’m asking you to consider how you do things. Maybe a better way to ask it, is ‘How are you being as you’re doing?” That still may sound a little odd so let’s go deeper into it.
When you’re involved in the activities of your day, are you truly engaged with them? Do you have your attention in the present moment, aware of the activity, aware of your body, enjoying and focused on the task at hand? Or are you off in the future already planning and strategizing how to do the next thing, your mind anxiously spinning, barely conscious of your feelings, your body and its sensations? Or do you have your attention in the past replaying or reliving some previous conversation or experience, judging yourself or others or dipping into the well of shame and regret?
How are you doing? Let’s take it to yet another level. Do you feel like you’re in charge of your schedule, your activities and to do list? Do you feel in control of your life at that level? Or do you feel out of control, at the mercy of the needs and demands of forces outside yourself? Do you feel like you have no choice and no say in what you do and that others dictate what you need to do? Do you feel good about your daily activities and want to be present to be engaged with and experience them? Or do you move through your day and your to do list feeling resentful, victimized and wishing you could just escape? How are you doing?
All the things described in the questions above I know from experience. I’ve gone through days and weeks barely in touch with my body and the activities of the present moment, caught up in thoughts and emotions of the past and future. I’ve spent weeks and months feeling like I had little or no control over my daily activities, building up and dragging around burdens of shame, regret, resentment and judgment.
I’ve also experienced the absolute glory and vibrancy of being present in the moment, with a still and silent mind, focused and aware of only what I’m doing then and there. I’ve claimed control of my schedule, my to do list and feel like I’m at choice in the activities and tasks that I take on or not. And I have to say that being present and feeling at choice is much more satisfying.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’m perfect at being present, aware and feeling completely self-directed or anything. I still can get caught up in my mind and drift off into future or past events as I’m doing something else. But I know that I just sometimes get distracted by thoughts of past or future and leave the present. I know that I’m at choice as to where I focus my attention and energy. I still at times feel put upon and at the mercy of demands of others. But ultimately I know that I’ve just temporarily forgotten that I’m responsible and at choice for how I use my time and what I take on to do. It’s all a choice.
Now here are a couple of simple tools that I love, and you can try them too. When you catch yourself off in the past or future, absent from your body and the present moment, just stop. Relax, take a deep breath, become aware of your heart and repeat this little mantra a few times, “I forgive myself for leaving, and I choose to be here, now.” As you do, breathe consciously again, and allow yourself to feel a rush of self-love and compassion in your heart. Then re-focus on the task at hand.
When you become aware of yourself feeling vicitmized, out of control or at the mercy of others in terms of your to do list and schedule, you can do something similar. Again, just stop, relax, take a deep breath and become aware of your heart. Then as you breathe consciously repeat this little mantra a few times, “I forgive myself for forgetting, and I reclaim my power and choices now.” Then imagine a rush of energy – compassion, love and power – flooding through your body and recognize all the choices that you really do have. And again, re-focus on the single task at hand.
The extra little twist in these two simple tools is the emphasis on forgiveness first. When you start with the intention to forgive yourself it softens and eliminates any judgments that you might have about having been absent from your body or feeling like a victim to others. When you start with forgiveness, you instantly invoke a spirit of compassion, gentleness, and self-love. In doing so, you clear the way to more quickly and easily bring yourself back to the present moment. You put yourself into a frame of mind to be able to more readily reclaim your innate power, authority and responsibility.
So how are you doing? I invite you to remember and consider this conversation of how you’re being as you’re doing. I also invite you to put these 2 simple tools to the test. See how they work for you over these next few weeks. Write them down if you need to and carry them around in your pocket or purse for a few days until you memorize them. Then let me know. I’m always interested to hear from you and to know ‘how you’re doing.’
Thanks for your desire to live more consciously and compassionately. Please share about Forgiveness Club and these conversations of forgiveness, responsibility and choice with others. And please be a model and show others the benefits that choosing these things can bring to your life. Together, let’s make a difference in our world.
Until the next time…
May you live, forgiven and free!