A New Year's Resolution for Overachievers

Mindful  being

Mindful being

For many bloggers there’s this thing called the new year’s post. Okay, I don’t know if that’s actually a thing but there are so many new year’s articles out there I think it's probably a thing.

So I figure I have to get on board with this. Part of that’s the lurking FOMO and part of it is good business sense. This time of year is great for attracting new clients who are motivated to make some positive lasting changes in their lives. But with so many new year’s articles out there what can I possibly write that hasn’t already been completely picked over? I wrote one last year so can’t do that one again.

As I contemplated what new spin I could put on new year’s, I took a break to add the first official post to my newly created FUNdaMENTALs Instagram account. I was resistant to having another social media account but since a resolution of mine this year is to master business marketing and trusted sources told me I specifically need an Instagram account there I was. That is, there I was losing my mind over what should have been a five minute task but instead took an hour and a half. As I became more and more frustrated, I reminded myself of the intentions I set long before new year’s but renewed with particular vigor heading into 2018. Specifically a major intention for me right now is to just be, slow down and allow life to happen with ease. And bam, 90 minutes of losing it turned into my new year’s blog post!

Like many recovering perfectionists and overachievers, I’m a doer, hard worker and uber determined (stubborn as some close to me like to call it). If there’s a problem I will find the solution. While I think these are helpful qualities in certain situations, at other times it leads to forcing things, which never turns out for the best. Every single time something has gone especially well it’s happened easily, seemingly without effort on my part. Of course, I wasn’t just sitting around all day on my butt and things magically fell from the sky, but the action I took was inspired, seemed effortless, and everything worked out perfectly.

We all know this to be true because we’ve all experienced this. Mindfulness, flow, being in the zone. It’s amazing when you’re there, not quite as amazing when you’re not. But if you’re as human as I am you forget that and move in and out of flow with the dream of spending more time there next time. So how do you do spend more time there? By incorporating more being into your life.

Doing is goal-oriented and involves action in an effort to reduce the gap between our present experience and what we think it should be like instead. When we’re doing our attention is more narrowly focused. In contrast, being is not goal-oriented, there is no particular outcome expected. Rather the focus is on acceptance and allowing. Being is mindful and allows us to be open to all possibilities and opportunities that we can miss while doing. Being doesn’t mean we don’t take any action at all. It just means that the action we do take is for the sake of the action rather than a particular outcome, which leads to increased peace and satisfaction.

Okay, so that was your intellectual education, but you can only fully know what being is by experiencing the feeling of it yourself. There aren’t quite words to truly describe the experience. But in a quick attempt, think about a time when you lost your keys, then you lost your wallet so you began to look for that instead, and in the process found the keys you were initially looking for. That happens because you were in a being state of mind toward the keys and a doing state of mind toward your wallet. It’s that letting go and allowing that makes all the difference. It’s how you allow your mind to simply be that is different for everyone. There are many ways people transition from doing to being: meditation (either regular practice and/or in the moment of difficulty), exercise, moving on to a different task, doing something you enjoy, talking it over with someone, focused breathing, taking a break, getting out into nature.

I lapse back into doing on a regular basis but I definitely spend a lot more time being than I used to. It’s much easier for me now when I find myself frustrated and uninspired to take a deep breath, get back to the present, and mindfully choose my next step. Often that’s moving on to something else or taking a break. In fact, part way through writing this I developed writer’s block so I took my dog for a run, which helped clear my head enough to move forward. I’m still in slight doing mode since I don’t think I got my message across exactly how I would have liked to, but alas, that’s the irony of this whole dang thing. So I’ll continue to practice being and accepting that it is what it is and hope my experience will provide some insight to others who can relate.