Doing vs. Being

Recently, I wrote an article about mindfulness for a university newsletter.  The editor’s feedback focused on the need for less “concept” and more “techniques.”  So, I’ve been thinking a lot about being mindful and doing mindfulness.  I really like the following:

The ABC of mindfulness

A is for awareness – Becoming more aware of what you are thinking and doing – whats going on in your mind and body.

B is for “just Being” with your experience.  Avoiding the tendency to respond on auto-pilot and feed problems by creating your own story.

C is for seeing things and responding more wisely.  By creating a gap between the experience and our reaction to, we can make wiser choices.
——Juliet Adams, Founder of Mindfulnet.org & Director, A Head for Work

Well, most of my life has been about doing so taking the time to be aware and “just be” is really tough.  To be honest, when I’m in awareness mode, it’s usually because I have a headache!   When I first retired and moved to Ocean Pines, I moved my ailing mom into a retirement home five minutes from my house.  I really thought that I’d be able to visit with her and we would finally, after 60 years, just enjoy being together.  Well, it didn’t turn out that way.  Her health deteriorated steadily and most of my time with her consisted of taking her to doctors, shopping, and dealing with her finances.  When Mom passed in 2015, I not only grieved for her but I grieved for the moments of just laughing and sharing memories together that seemed to pass us both by.

So, now it’s just Jim and me.  I want to “be” a different way in retirement.  According to Jon Kabat-Zinn , “mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally.”  One of the ways I’m trying to pay attention is to open my eyes and ears.  A few days ago, Jim excitedly asked me to join him at our back window.  “Can you see that?”  he asked.  “What?”  I replied.  “The glistening of the sunlight on the pine needles hanging above the water.”  And there it was – an awareness that would have passed me by if I hadn’t taken the time to look for it.  And yes, it was magical!

Hm.  I think I’m going to turn off the news and listen to my dog, Titan, snore on the floor next to my feet!

4 thoughts on “Doing vs. Being

  1. I know I will enjoy reading your blog, Cindy. It sounds as if it will reinforce what I continue to re-learn every day. Every time I think I have learned “it “, there I go again, in need of remedial training, or at least practice. Avoidance of the things we fear can cost us dearly. We might live another day but we might also be quite unhappy. Good for you, for taking chances and moving beyond the fear. Alisa

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    1. Thanks for your powerful observation, Alisa. Like you, I find that this journey is about being present to what triggers my “story” as well as being present to the beauty in everyday experience.

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  2. The entire “mindfulness” concept and BEING is wonderful and hard at the same time. What you share in this particular blog resonated with me. The part I find difficult is the “nonjudgmental.” I find that my meditation helps with the “just let be” part. The “beauty” part I’m finding joyfully easy.

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    1. I was meditating the other day and opened my eyes to see an ant crawling across my meditation table. My first thought was to crush it. Then, I caught myself and started watching its journey. He was so purposeful and I felt connected suddenly. Wonderful moment!

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