Being vs. Doing


Lately, as summer stands aside for autumn to fully enter our lives, I have been contemplating the cycles and rhythms of life. The ebb and flow of the tides. The growth, harvest and dormancy of the seasons. The waxing and waning of the moon. The life cycle of a butterfly as its cocooning transforms it from a fuzzy caterpillar to a glorious winged soulbird. Life is constantly changing within its cycles of birth, death and rebirth.

This led me to think about the cycles of my own life, especially my creativity. Sometimes I feel bursting full of energy and ideas and my hands can barely keep up with my imagination. This is the “Doing” part of my cycle. At other times I feel empty and don’t want to do anything at all. It is during those times that I feel the need to fill up my emptiness. But first it is important that I sit with the emptiness for awhile before I start filling. This is the “Being” part of my cycle.

As a true Capricorn, I feel the most comfortable when I have a concrete goal and am working (Doing) hard towards that goal, whatever it may be. It is the times when my psyche starts sending me signals that it is time to enter the “Being” part of the cycle that I struggle with the most. Perhaps it is the part of me that thinks that I am not worthy unless I am being productive that finds it challenging to just “Be”. But isn’t the butterfly growing and transforming within her cocoon, her “Being” time? Isn’t the moon still there even though we can’t see it? The tide recedes but look what treasures it brings in.


So, I am sitting with these thoughts and am starting to understand that “Being” is just as important as “Doing. It is part of the cycle of our lives, yours and mine.

What do you think?

6 comments on “Being vs. Doing

  1. Acey says:

    lovely ocean pics I especially like the driftwood shot. Cool thoughts in the post as well. I feel a strong synchronicity with the subject matter as I just took a week’s time to BE without doing much of anything at all. My soul really needed it even though my it took my brain and basic personality a couple of days to get in sync with the need. As a sun-sign Cancer, I really appreciate you using the metaphor of the moon’s existence when we can’t see it and also the thought about the tide’s gifts – these things made a huge amount of sense to me. Next I hope to get to the point where I don’t feel a need to make some kind of *special project* out of just-being. It is rather comforting to know i am not the only one working through this issue and having some evolving thoughts on the subject.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I love this phrase you penned, “…it is important that I sit with the emptiness for awhile before I start filling.” That is so true – and so hard – for me. Thank you for this inspiring post! My sister just gave birth to my first niece, and my grandmother is declining quickly. Life-Death-Rebirth. It can be beautiful if we choose to see it.

  3. Kathy Wagner says:

    Very thought-provoking post – I enjoyed reading it very much.
    “Being” is a difficult thing to accomplish (for me…and in my culture in general) since I am always focused on the next thing I must do.
    But “being” (and I include resting, reflecting and renewing as part of “being”) is a crucial part of the “doing”. I always forget that!

  4. artandtea says:

    Thanks Acey for sharing your thoughts about “Being”. I can identify with your need to make a “special project” out of the just-being phase. Like you, I would like to just get to the point where I allow it to be a natural part of my life.

    I’m glad you liked that thought, Stephanie. Yes, I agree, it is hard to just sit with that empty feeling. I feel like a dried husk or shell and my energy level is at its lowest. I’m sorry to hear of your grandmother’s declining health. Wonderful news about your brand new niece. Isn’t it amazing how births and deaths seem to happen around the same time in families? My nephews were both born within a week of both my grandmother’s and aunt’s passing.

    I agree Kathy that our culture puts so much emphasis on always doing things and productivity, always being “ON”. Some people might view “Being” as being lazy. I just watched the movie “The Peaceful Warrior” and in it there was a great line about always creating distractions and “busyness” so we would never have to be alone with ourselves and our thoughts. There was a lot of great stuff in that movie. Dan Millman wrote a bunch of books about his experiences. I’ve got them on my “books I want to read” list.

  5. Amy C says:

    Hi Karen,

    Beautiful post; very thought provoking. Ever since we went for our aura/chakra reading I’m very in tune to “just being.” My daily (or near daily) meditations have been unbelievably helpful in re-setting my “being.” Lately, I’ve even found that I can’t listen to rock/pop music in the studio. I’m more productive with classical/smooth rock/new age, etc music playing. It seems to sooth the energy, allows me to focus, and opens me up creatively.

    You’re right; our society doesn’t value “just being” though I think for many people this is starting to change. Look where all our craziness has gotten us these last few years.

    Surround yourself with beauty. Buy yourself some flowers, light a candle, drink a favorite cup of tea and know you have friends who support your “just being.”


  6. artandtea says:

    Thanks Amy for your wonderful words about “being”. I know what you mean about the rock/pop music. Sometimes I find it too jarring, especially when I’m turning inward. It interferes with hearing the voice inside. I especially like your suggestion to surround myself with beauty! -Karen

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