Before I Discovered Doing, There Was Being
Before I discovered doing, there was being. Being was complete unto itself. Being was its own reward. Being was abundance. Untold, unobscured, primal, primary, primordial, pure.
There was a time before I discovered doing. And equated it with abundance instead.
Why Did I Stop Being?
My mother remembered that I would simply sit, and “entertain myself.” I think she meant I sat in a way that wouldn’t worry a mother if a very young child did it for long periods of time.
I can only imagine: I stopped doing this because I learned to stop. I learned to stop being and start doing.
What Was So Exciting About Doing?
I honestly can’t remember when being lost its appeal. I can’t remember why.
I can’t remember when I developed this relentless voice murmuring (when it is not shouting) that there is one more thing I still need to do to feel I have the right to be alive.
The Subtext of Doing
Underneath, the doing voice is whispering: I’m not satisfied. I’m still not worthy of my life. I’m not complete. I’m not worthy of all the resources that have been poured into me, my being, and my existence.
I could earn the right to live if I would only
do that third thing.
But there is always a fourth thing. It’s lying. There’s always tomorrow’s to-do list. (Since I am an efficient person, and have gotten today’s crossed off. Don’t believe the hype: you can never be efficient enough if efficient is your priority. The jig is up. Don’t play the game. Go ahead–be efficient but not for efficiency’s sake.)
Do Not Go Gentle into Doing
Dylan Thomas has a poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” There are things it is unhealthy to cooperate with. This is one of them: do not go gentle into doing.
If You Cannot Remember, Invent
For your own abundance, remember how to be. Go back to before you had words. If that is too painful, or if impossible, INVENT:
There was a time when you were not a slave, remember that. You walked alone, full of laughter, you bathed bare-bellied. You say you have lost all recollection of it . . . You say there are no words to describe this time, you say it does not exist. . . Make an effort to remember. Or, failing that, invent. [Monique Witting, Les Guérillères (the warrior women), translation by David Le Vay]
This phrase has stood with me a long while: remember–or failing that, invent. (A mentor once said they were the same thing. I think this is because when we remember, we are always adding, subtracting–creating. Inventing.)