Archive for May, 2008
I had this big button that hung on my bulletin board for years, all through college, and for a good ten years after in my various home offices. I’m not sure what happened to it, but I still think of it:
To do is to be. – Socrates
To be is to do. – Plato
DoBeDoBeDo. – Sinatra
Clearly we live in a culture of doers. What we “do” is often the first question people ask one another on meeting. I definitely get into major “do” modes myself, and I think I’m in one now. On the computer late into the night, waking up at 5am with ideas and to-do’s chattering in my brain.
Of course, doing can be a good thing. I tend to get invigorated when the ideas are flowing and the work is happening. Studies show that the longer we “do” in life, the longer we live, in many cases.
On the other hand, we can take our doing too far. Forgetting to stop and enjoy, or to take care of ourselves. To sleep, for me. I think we often need a good dose of “be” to temper the “do” and feel balanced in our lives. Some quiet. Some attention. Some nothing.
Here in coastal California, the “just be” attitude is certainly more appreciated than in other parts of the country that I’ve lived in. My years in Washington, DC, were so filled with doers and doing that I kind of ran screaming back here for some sanity.
In our little family now, when we get too far into “do” mode, we nudge each other to take some “be” time. To stop running around on a Sunday evening and drive over to the beach, lay a blanket out on the sand and eat dinner slowly, and play a little. Then do again tomorrow.
So, as I write this at 5am, at my computer, my DD sleeping soundly in the next room, I think I’ll take my dose of “be” to temper my doing this month. And I’ll remember the other lesson of my kitzchy little button — not to think too hard all the time.
I’ll take a lesson from the sleeping child, and the crooning Sinatra, take a deep breath and laugh. Honor the ideas and work, but still try to turn the brain off for a few hours tonight. And be. And do again later. Be. Do. And DoBeDoBeDo.
Here’s to a DoBeDoBeDo week to you, too.
So, as part of my Having Enough philosophy of life, I’ve made the commitment to only do work that fits my values. Fortunately, I have some of this work and I love it. Unfortunately (in some ways), I also end up turning down often more lucrative work from corporate clients or the like, as they don’t fit with my vision. And, well, you know, times are lean.
Oddly enough, because a salesperson I am not, I’ve found myself taking on a bit of a sales venture. This venture really does fit my values, though, and I hope it will supplement my writing/editing work with something I enjoy and can stand behind.
I’ve become a Stallholder (seller) of Barefoot Books for children! I fell in love with these books and this company, whose values include the following:
- Honoring difference, diversity and dialogue
- Remembering our connection with each other and with the Earth
- Reaching for the stars and sharing what they say to us
- Climbing trees, building forts, and swapping stories
The books are beautifully written and illustrated, honor the diversity of world cultures, and promote a socially-conscious, Earth-conscious next generation. As a writer, artist, and progressive (and Ms. Having Enough), I appreciate all of these qualities.
The company itself, started by two British moms, publishes on eco-friendly paper, uses fair labor practices, choose titles in keeping with their values, and started its Stallholder program in large part to allow moms to have a potential to earn a few bucks (with only a modest up-front investment) while being present for their children (and sharing amazing stories with them).
Please click here to check out the Barefoot Books catalog (and big spring sale!). If you go there through Having Enough (on this link or the icon on my sidebar), I will get credit as the Stallholder (yes, salesperson) for your purchases.
In keeping with my anti-“stuff” and pro-library values, I also want to suggest to you to check out Barefoot Books at your local library. If you or your children love any enough to want to own one, come back here and buy one through me. I thought long and hard before deciding to sell these books, to sell anything, but of all the things I’m learning I do not need to own, inspiring, enlightening and beautiful books are still something I have realized I truly do value having and giving.
What I love most about Barefoot Books is that I want almost every one for my own daughter — and that I really feel I don’t have to sell them. Their art and stories from around the world — and about the world — speak for themselves.
Thank you so much for your support!
I’ve had this quote on my fridge for years now, and a friend who visited recently emailed me after she got home and asked me for the quote. It really is a profound concept, which speaks so aptly to Having Enough:
“Attention is the most basic form of love; through it we bless and are blessed.” – John Tarrant.
The quote helps me stop if I’m feeling rushed to do too many things. Stop and pay attention. If I’m frustrated with the demands of a toddler. Stop and pay attention. Time goes all too fast. If my husband and I are butting heads; stop and pay attention. He just wants attention, too.
It goes with another tenet I love, from Jack Kornfield, I think: At the bottom of it all, everyone just wants to be appreciated and understood.
To do this, we must pay attention. I must pay attention.
I don’t think I’ll ever remove that quote from my fridge.
At my UU Fellowship this morning, a longtime couple, two women who are active and beloved in the community, stood up and announced they are getting married on June 21st. People stood and cheered and cried (me included). And we serenaded them with a song called “Standing on the Side of Love.”
So many of us take for granted the option of getting married, mull over our thoughts of this institution and whether we want to “be a part of it.” But how would we feel if we were told we could not be a part of it? Not be allowed the same rights as our neighbors, family members and friends? Would it take on different meaning then? I bet so.
In my view, it is not enough, and we are not a truly successful democracy, until all citizens truly have equal rights. On June 21, these women will exercise theirs in our fine state of California. Hallelujah.
I’m grumpy tonight. Just plain grumpy. Huffy and impatient and gloomy. No specific reason, really. Jumbled thoughts of all kinds of things big and small. Apologies to the poor folks who live with me for my short temper this evening. It will pass, and I’ll be chipper again.
Being grumpy is natural. I’m learning on the grumpy days (which may also be hormonal days, hmmm) to just be. Grumpy. Not overanalyze it. Not look for reasons. Not think it means something is “wrong” or I need “more” or there isn’t enough happy to go around.
Just let the mood be a mood, like a hot day versus a chilly one. Not fan the flames but let them just burn a bit, dance their fire dance for a while. Know the morning dew will ease the heat away if it just stays smoldering in that low place.
Ignore the grumpy and it will sooner go away than if I engage with it. Better yet, practice lovingkindness on the grumpy. Hug it and honor it in all its curmudgeonliness.
Now, if I could only stop harumphing at my poor husband. Then, I’d really be evolving.
Well, we pushed a bit too hard over the past month — me with two new projects and DH with some intense work stuff of his own — and, as often happens when we overdo, we all ended up worn-out and with colds. My stomach is all out of whack, too.
Our bodies do tell us when to slow down, don’t they? The trick is listening to them.
This time we tried to listen, and stop. So, today, in the middle of the week, instead of a “sick day,” we decided to take a family “health day.” Concentrate on rest and replenishment. Only the healthiest food. Rest. A trip to the beach to soak in some sea air and sunlight. It’s helping. I’ve used many less tissues and my tummy is settling down.
To some, this may seem indulgent. As for me, I wish we could do it again tomorrow!
I kept thinking today of a segment in the documentary, Sicko, in which a man in France gets cancer, goes through chemo, and, once he is declared cancer-free, instead of going right back to work, he takes three months to recuperate, sail, enjoy his friends. This was supported and paid for by the French government.
Of course, I can hear the reactions to this now by the ole Puritan-work-ethic Americans who think this guy “took advantage of the system” or was “lazy” for taking three months off of work when he was supposedly “healed.” But, I think it makes perfect sense. Healing isn’t just an absence of disease. It’s not just going back to zero from a deficit.
Healing is storing up rest, energy, healthful foods, companionship, spiritual nourishment, to get our bodies, minds and souls stronger than zero. To store up extra to prevent other diseases from finding us and for fighting them if they do.
I wish “health days” were more accepted and supported in our culture. I wish we could all really take the time to heal. How different do you think the world would be if we actually did?
As long as I’m being a bit controversial tonight, I just want to say a big “hooray” to the California Supreme Court for legalizing gay marriage today — and send a big plea to Californians to NOT sign the petitions (hugely funded by the far-right) to get a prop on the ballot to strike it down.
Enough inequality. Enough discrimination. Enough energy wasted trying to stop others from having rights. I don’t understand why opponents care so much, how it harms them in any way. I really don’t.
Oh, I may get flamed for bringing up this hot topic, but I don’t care. I’m sure proud of my state tonight for having enough.