Doing and Being

Healing Grows, art journal entry

When you read the word “doing” what comes to mind?  What about the word “being”?  Do you feel something different in your body when you contemplate each word?  How much of your life do you focus on doing?  How much of your life do you focus on being?

In her book Creating True Prosperity, Shakti Gawain describes “doing” and “being” in the following ways:

1) Doing: “Doing is a state of focused, directed, goal-oriented activity. It enables us to handle the business of life and all the things we need and want to accomplish.”

2) Being: “Pure being is a state where we can fully experience the present moment, without thought of the past or future.”

And as Shakti states, both doing and being are important: “Without the ability to do, we would be helpless and frustrated. Without the ability to be, we would feel empty and our lives would seem meaningless.” The key is having some balance. In our culture, I believe we create a hierarchy of doing over being. Do you find this to be true, too?

When I give bodywork sessions, I notice first-hand the gentle process of letting go my clients experience as they come closer and closer to the experience of being. Often, I hear from my clients that bodywork allows them to “just be.”  I find this is true for me, too. When I go to my monthly CranioSacral Therapy sessions, I allow myself to be 100% me, 100% present as I gain a feeling of wholeness and integration.

Interestingly, when I give sessions, while I am clearly doing, I am also being, too. I am bringing full attention to my client and all he/she is needing as well as attending to my own need for groundedness, breath, and calm. Without the ability to simply be with my clients, I become “fix-it”oriented, which doesn’t serve me or my client.  Allowing for unfolding to happen, for release to occur, for breath to slow is my way of “being in action” as I become a witness to the person I am working with.

Gawain believes that being is a way that we “replenish and revitalize ourselves.” She continues, “The being state allows us to refill ourselves with the life force we have spent in doing.”

We often spend so much of our time doing that we forget to replenish the well by just being with ourselves. Animals are wonderful teachers for us in this. Just watch your cat or dog as he/she stares out the window or at a shadow moving across the wall. Watch your cat nap in a stream of sunshine or your dog resting his chin on your feet as you work. Take a cue from these creatures who know how to be 100% themselves in the very moment they are in.

Try this:

For five minutes focus on your being-ness. Sit comfortably and tune into your breathing. Place your hand on your heart center and tap into the feeling you have in this part of your body? If thoughts of the “world of doing” enter your mind, simply allow them to become clouds that drift by and focus on your breath. Now imagine a color exists in your heart right this very moment. What color is it?  Does is stay one color or change? Stay focused on yourself and this heart center until you feel yourself get a simultaneous feeling of calm and clarity. That feeling can be itty-bitty; it can be like a tiny flash of the word “yes” passing through you. How do you feel now that you have tapped into you?


About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
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One Response to Doing and Being

  1. Dia says:

    I’m also a bodyworker, & share that joy of creating space ‘just to be’ for my clients, and be-ing in that state when I receive from my co-workers!

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