It’s been close to 2 years now that I am not ‘working’. In a society obsessed with doing, where work is primarily the only thing worth doing, not ‘working’ meant not ‘doing’. Majority of us are conditioned to believe this to be true.
So when I have now reached a stage in life where I do not necessarily need to ‘work’, I am struggling with the concept of what am I ‘doing’? Every time I take this guilt, frustration, shame to my therapist, she seems surprised, genuinely. In her mind, I am ‘doing’ too much already and I need to slow down. In my mind, I am ‘not doing’ anything at all.
Now, you might ask, are you depressed? Why therapy? I say, why not? I personally believe that everyone, irrespective of what labels they have given to their state of mind, should try therapy. I am not saying that serious mental health conditions are mere labels. Anyone who knows me, knows I take mental health as seriously and at times more so than physical. I merely meant that sometimes, we have the tendency to label our momentary sadness to depression or anxiety. My point simply being, that it is good to focus on our mental and emotional state, whatever our ideas may be about it.
So when I decided to leave my reasonably high profile job and I knew I was going to do ‘nothing’ else, I also knew I was going to take this time to focus on myself. Everyone reiterated my conditioned belief about myself, ‘oh, how are you of all people going to sit at home doing nothing’. I heard it over and over again. From voices outside. And from voices within.
You see, focusing on improving my health through being more physically active – running, yoga and tai chi does not count in my world view as ‘doing’. Writing, sketching and painting for fun, for expression are hobbies and not worthy either in the productivity bandwagon. Neither is going back to your music, reconnecting with your childhood vocal talent. All these are mere whims that I can indulge in whilst I figure out what to ‘do’ next. Gardening and Farming are now the in-thing and I am not one to shy away from trends. Cooking and making your home a beautiful space for you and your husband, well, it was work but how long could one do that? Reading – fiction, non fiction, biographies, self-help, travel books, history books, fantasy books was just an addiction. Catching up with friends and spending more time with family. Being able to go out and be present for them, being able to enjoy their company. Well those were things I should have been doing anyway.
All those things I spent time at, was ‘doing’ something perhaps, but it wasn’t productive. What was it achieving for anyone but myself? How could I define success in these areas? What did I have to show for it? And more importantly where was the money? But despite these questions and the frustrations they brought up, my therapist however encouraged me to stay with these things, which only further reiterated my conditioned beliefs. Trust the process, allow things to unfold. As woolly as it sounds, it turns out there is some truth to letting things unfold.
I started the process of ‘I got coached and then I seeked movement therapy – all in the attempt to get in touch with my body – the unconscious mind – that I had been willfully ignoring for 35 years now. This journey has been slow. It has been steady. Two words I would never have associated with myself. Needless to say that it has been intense.
I am vata, an aquarius, I am the doer, I am also the thinker. But I need to do fast, think fast, move from one to the next fast. I am the air. Its difficult to contain and difficult to slow down. This is how I led my life. I was quite proud of it too. I am still.
But all these labels I attached to myself are finally revealing themselves for what they truly are. Labels. They define a part of me. Not my entirety. And I have realised that I have been focusing on the part that I attached myself most to.
Slowing down has helped me get a small whiff, as gentle touch, a momentary glance, of my whole being. And I am waking up to what it truly means to ‘be’. Be whole. Be unattached to any one part that may have revealed itself. A part that may even be predominant. That maybe, what is called your ‘Prakriti’.
Yes, we all have a ‘Prakriti’ which is essential part of us, which shows up in many actions. But not being able to try reaching out to other parts, that may not be strong yet, but exists as well in all of us, is what limits us.
And the only way forward for me, taking my ‘Prakriti’ with me, but going beyond that, is allowing myself to slow down. Allow myself to touch the different parts of my being and be touched by it. Giving myself the permission to ‘be’ in the world obsessed with ‘do’. When I am can simply being my whole self, I will be manifesting the ultimate purpose of my life. I will be living.
I will leave you with the thought,
“Be…Don’t Try to Become” – Osho