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Being vs. Doing

By Dean Whittaker

We spend so much of our lives doing, that we often lose sight of being. In his book, “The Power of Pause,” Terry Hershey reminds us what is important verses what is urgent. How many times have we become unconscious to the moment we are in because we are focused on what we are doing next? What if, instead, your life came with a “pause button,” a button you could push and everything would stop for a moment and allow us to do less and become more?  Pause gives us the opportunity to choose what we do but also what we don’t do. 

The author says that the “pause” give us the power to: 1.)Pay attention; 2) Be centered; 3) Say yes to the moment, and no to the urgent; 4) Listen; 5) See, hear, taste, touch, and smell; and 6) Take responsibility for and embrace our uniqueness.

By pausing, we pay attention to those around us, to the sound of the birds in the morning, the spouse next to us in bed, to the beating of our heart, to the fragrance of the lilac blossoms in the spring, and to the miracle that life is. By being centered, we allow ourselves to fully engage the moment in what is at hand, whether it is doing the dishes, taking out the trash, or reading a bedtime story to our children. When we say no to the ternary of the urgent, and instead make a decision to stay in the moment, we give ourselves permission to just “be”, knowing that we are enough. Our identity is not about what we do but rather who we are.

Along these same lines, a book by Michael Nichols, “The Lost Art of Listening,” reminds me to truly listen to the other person and hear what they are saying rather than planning my next comment. Reflective listening keeps me in the moment and allows me to be with the person. Further, polling my senses connects me to the moment and gives me the ability to feel my environment and be one with nature. Lastly, taking the time to realize my uniqueness and gifts help me contribute what I have to offer and provide me the opportunity to be who I am rather than what I feel I need to be to please others.

Are our lives too full? Is there no room to take a moment and “pause” to give our souls a chance to catch up?  What could we do to simplify our lives and lose those things we don’t need? Do we have a place in our homes, offices, and communities where we can just be with no commitments or responsibilities to do anything? Let’s each press the “pause” button and give ourselves the gift of just being.

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