Sounds like it should be a refrain to a song. It is in fact the refrain to our lives; are we human beings or human doings.
In our society we are judged by what we do, what we achieve and what we accomplish. When we were young we were praised for the things that we did well, if we tidied our toys away, if we did a pretty painting, if we played nicely. At school we would have been praised for good work, neat writing, sporting success, helping people. All of which is doing.
If we were really lucky we might have got positive feedback for who we are; people just being pleased to see us, happy to be with us, happy with us just the way that we are. School’s not so good at this.
So we grow up doing, doing, doing. We make sure are kids can do stuff too, and do it well. School, football, swimming, ballet, scouts, guides, extra lessons…..
But doing all the time is exhausting.
- What do you spend your time doing?
- What have you done today?
- What do the kids do each week as well as go to school?
I love this poem called Do Be Do..it sums up how life can feel
I’ve become more and more aware of my internal dobedo swing-o-meter: like the BBC’s election night swing-o-meter.
If I’ve had too much do I get tired and irritable and want everyone and everything to go away and leave me alone. Not good.
My optimum dobe-balance is a minimum of 4 hours of being per day. I manage it during the holidays but not during term time.
- What is your dobe-balance?
For me ‘being’ is thinking, walking, reading, meditating, swimming and being on my own.
- What does ‘being’ mean to you?
Paul Ware talks about doorways of communication. He says there are 3 very basic modes of in which we operate; doing, thinking and feeling. Ware says we have:
- An Open Door which is the way we make contact with other people
- A Target Door where meaningful communication can take place
- And a Trap Door which is likely to shut communication down.
My Open Door is feeling. I can tune into people’s feelings really easily and connect which is really important for the work I do. Lovely Man’s open door is doing.
- What are your Open, Target and Trap doors?
- Think about the people in your life and what their Doorways of communication are
You can tell someone’s Open Door by the way they talk. When Lovely Man and I first got together I noticed how he greets people with: ‘How are you doing?’. He always asks me what I’ve been doing and tells me what he has been doing all day.
I’m more likely to greet you with ‘how are you?’ which is a request for information about your being. For me, what I have done is just small talk, I wanted to talk about how I had felt while I was doing whatever I was doing, and what I’d thought about it.
Similarly, if I’m emotional and want to talk about how I feel about something, or if I want to think something through, he goes straight in on ‘what you need to DO is’, which makes me want to knife him.
So we have different do-be balances.
They key for us has been to be explicit about this. I can now say ‘I don’t want to do anymore doing today, I need more being.’ and he gets what that means. Similarly, I can see if he’s getting restless and so I might ask ‘are you bored’?
We haven’t managed to solve the ‘what you want to do is..’ conversation, but we are learning to step out of the ensuing escalation: ‘Don’t tell me what to do, I just want you to listen” quicker. One or the other of us will spot what is happening and break away (or in NLP terms, ‘break state’) to go and make a cup of tea and then we hug and leave it. Either I phone a friend and emote or we come back to it when we are both calmer.
So..Doing and Being is complex.
Our social world wants us to DO and it maybe that some of the people we rub up against like to DO more than we do so it can be hard to connect with being.
Nature is my short cut to being. Plants, trees, animals don’t try to do anything, they just are as they are. They be rather than do.
So even if it’s pouring, I try to get outside and look up at the sky and it reminds me how to be