Active Being

It’s sort of a funny thing for me to write about rest because I spend so much time writing about taking action. That doesn’t necessarily mean strenuous physical action; I’m talking about making decisions instead of letting the world pile up around you. I’m talking about doing whatever needs to be done to change your life — taking a class, keeping a journal, learning a new way, gathering with other like-minded people, or something else that will expand your horizons.

Often, I write about getting off our collective rear ends and hauling our stuff to the donation and recycling centers to make space for what we really want to flow into our lives. (I actually write a great deal about that.) Today is different because when I asked the Sick of Being Stuck community what topics were on their minds, this was the first response:

“Resting. A very intense and physical last couple of days, body not liking me too much today, so day of pampering body. Hope your day is going great, Christy! We have a wonderful sunshiny day and I hope yours is as well!”

Sometimes, we just have to rest. Especially after a spell of great intensity, one night of sleep may not be enough to restore our energy, strength, and spirit. And for most of us, the hours that we sleep are the only ones where rest actually has the opportunity to happen.

Otherwise, we go and go, often long past what feels good and true for our bodies. This is made possible, of course, by our willingness to detach from the physical body to go live in our heads. It allows us to betray ourselves, and nothing good has ever come from that.

Once more for clarity, nothing good has ever come from us betraying ourselves.

I’m not going to pretend that it’s not hard to pause when there is so much to be done. It is, or at least it can feel that way. It can feel like when we were little girls and boys, and we earned by doing instead of being. We bought peace with chores, love with grades or home runs or recitals, and security with silence. We earned affection by being adorable.

Certainly for some of us, this is about parents sucking, but for most, it’s just the way it was. This is the way our society works. We were supposed to be good, be useful, be valuable, be worthy by doing. It’s such a flawed approach to child-rearing.

Naturally, we needed to learn the ways of the world. We needed to be able to tend, nourish, and provide for ourselves in adulthood, but our intrinsic value, our sense of self-worth, should never have been anchored on what we do.

Everything you will ever become, you were on the day you were born.

I can’t remember where it came from, but it lives in my head all the time. I’ve asked around and searched the Internet and still can’t tell you how it came to be something I know, but it feels as true as the sunrise and sunset to me. On the last day of our lives, all that we have done will not make us more than we were on the very first day.

It’s a stunning concept, really, if you think about it. With or without buying a hoActive me, raising successful offspring, writing books, earning degrees and certifications, looking pretty, running races, curing cancer, perfectly manicuring our landscape, or whatever else we do with the minutes and hours of our lives, we are still as valuable and worthy of love as we would be without all that doing.

Is it just me, or does that have the potential to alter everything about the way you experience yourself?

Life could be so different if we felt free to live life as human beings, instead of humans doing – so much we can’t just be. We could volunteer for activities that we truly want to do. We would be surrounded by people who respect us, and we would possess things that we love and that serve us. We would take actions that are true for us, and stop wasting the precious hours of our lives trying to be good enough and productive enough. And when we needed to rest, we would simply rest.


Terry Vanderbush
Terry V.4 years ago

thank you

Mary B.
Mary B.4 years ago

Maybe it just means that all the genetic material, with it's memory codes and trillions of bits of data are already inside us when we're born, and to learn and grow we need to unlock the mystery of ourselves.

Janine Kaczynski
janine Kaczynski4 years ago

I like doing stuff that makes my world prettier. What's stinky is that nobody else helps ever. I would like to be able to work in a cohesive group. That would be fulfilling because it would be something that is hard to come by.

Kirsten B.
Kirsten B.4 years ago

Well put Christy.
Learning to be true to ourselves takes time, but it makes all the difference in the world (literally). And to be true to ourselves it's often necessary to start from a place of rest, of calm. Shut off from the world of expectations and doing, listen and feel, come back often, and then check in regularly to make sure you are on course.
Rest, relax, accept, discover, move on again.

Alisa Cohen
Alisa C.4 years ago

Unfortunately, it took developing fibromyalgia for me to learn that it was not only okay but necessary to allow myself to simply be on some days.

Shan D.
Shan D.4 years ago

"Everything you will ever become, you were on the day you were born." (article)

Then why bother trying to grow? Why not just stay childlike and childish, since a baby is already everything the adult will become? Honestly, this sounds like nonsense.

I get the part about being and doing. I cut the people out of my life who judged me not for who I am, but what I could/would do for them or make them feel. After many years of not measuring up, I finally said enough of this - I am going to live my life to please ME.

And guess what - I'm pretty easy to please.

But please don't tell me that when I was a baby I was already everything I would become. As a baby I was not a cat-lover. I hadn't gone through many years of struggle to figure out what my own worldview is, and my own morals and sense of honor. I was not a musician or a writer. I had the capacity to become those things and acquire those qualities... but I wasn't there yet.

Kathy G.
Kathy G.4 years ago

"Everything you will ever become, you were on the day you were born." Interesting. The more I read this, the more I agree, but not on a physical level. More on an emotional, psychological level. I help people. In any way possible, most times without being asked or any words being spoken. I see people needing help, I see someone struggling, I see a way to fix or help, and I do. And then I walk away. I don't need thanks, I don't need anything. It is the way I am, been around for 1/2 century, many people have tried and many people have failed in trying to change me. Including myself. So, I agree with this. I'm not the brightest person in the world, couldn't qualify for university if my life depended on it, couldn't do algebra let alone chemistry or physics, if my life depended on it, can't do many things. But I can (and have) help someone pick their lives up from the ashes and build it into something. Don't have a lot of money because there is always someone worse off and more in need of just that one dollar. Truly in need, not just wasteful or foolish. It's what I do, it's who I am. I've always believed that since I am Libra, that is my driving force. Maybe it is more than that. Maybe I truly am just simply born that way and will die that way. That comment is going to keep me thinking for many days. I love your perspective, Christy, thanks again for making me think.