The Importance of Being Versus Doing

 

It’s been three months since I last posted here. It wasn’t a case of lack of time, laziness or procrastination. It was the natural consequence of listening to my body. I needed a full reset. Sometimes you need to stop to find your centre.

During this time, I didn’t want to write. I didn’t want to work on any of my projects. After four years of living with the words “find your purpose” at the forefront of my mind, I needed to halt. I had been constantly searching for that holy grail that was supposed to make me feel happy to be alive because I’m doing what I love. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important to design a life that aligns with our values and desires, but this mentality had me constantly looking forward and, unconsciously, I started to believe my life has no real value until I’m living that purpose.

I became goal-oriented instead of being in the present moment. I started to assign more value to doing rather than being. And by “doing” I mean “achieving”. The thought of living a life where I didn’t have a powerful impact on others felt like a waste. And that impact had to be big. That mentality was draining me and damaging my self-esteem because I always came short.

Where was this obsession coming from? It took me some time to realise it wasn’t an inner drive. It was a self-imposed pressure, but the voice was coming from the outside.

It came from the myriad of newsletters, blog posts, articles and inspirational videos I’ve been consuming for years. It came from people who marketed their own life story and their own business (all in good faith, for the most part) and subtly made me think I could follow their steps and find that holy grail too.

Then a pandemic hit, my father died and I had an existential crisis. I felt my body slow down, and this time I really listened. I got in touch with the wild part of myself, the one so many of us have forgotten, the place where all the other animals live. Just focus on experiencing the world around you. That’s all that’s required of you. I lived by that mantra. And then wonderful things happened.

I stopped berating myself for all the things I considered faults and flaws. I started befriending the parts of myself I found embarrassing or unacceptable. I thought less and felt more. I experienced what it’s like to just be and not assign any value to things but rather observe them. I was simply alive.

I no longer felt that obsessive need to find The Life Purpose that would change people’s lives and transform the world. I no longer felt I had to prove anything to anyone, not even myself. I didn’t have to justify my existence by achieving one thing or another because I saw my life had value regardless of what I did or didn’t do.

So I focused on living. And by living I don’t mean I went off to seek adventures or that I challenged myself to do things I had never done before. I lived the moment, here and now, however it was presented to me. I appreciated everything around me. I spoke my mind and expressed all my feelings without questioning them. I saw the value of living a slow life with a small-scale impact.

I am writing today because I felt an impulse to do so. This is how I’ve always been. This is how I’ve always created. It might sound chaotic but it’s my way of experiencing the world. Before I was ingrained with the views of the majority, doing was never a priority for me. Being was. And from this place, I can create much more freely and passionately, following my inner guidance rather than a specific set of rules I’ll instinctively want to rebel against.

I’ve stopped believing there is one single life purpose for all of us and that this purpose is what gives meaning to our life. I believe we are here to experience the world. Period. And sometimes just that has more impact than a million business plans. 

It’s okay to just be.

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