Being Instead of Doing


It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday rush of life.  Life is speeding up, and often with that, inner angst. We want to put as much on our plates as we possibly can and be productive, but at what cost?

I have personally noticed when I am rushing, I am not really present, and miss out on the more important things in life. I am just determined to get things done. I am racing against the clock. It’s a feeling of pushing against time, the present moment itself.  It’s exhausting and draining because I forget to process and feel. I do and forget to be. While there’s nothing wrong with rushing, we are not really home when we rush.  It’s impossible to be present and rush at the same time.

When we are rushing, we are living in a state of resistance. It produces a state of consciousness that often comes about when we are feeling anxious.  It’s a lack of willingness to be in the present moment.  Have you ever noticed how rushing implies a feeling of lack??  A lack of time, a lack of permission, a lack of space in the present moment…even a lack of space within ourselves.


TO BE PRESENT is to fully inhabit the moment, to slow down and pay attention to everything around us. Photo by Michael Menendez.

So why do we rush?

Habitual:  Rushing is our MO and we get a “rush” from rushing.  It’s unconscious and can be addictive.

To Avoid:  We don’t want to feel our real feelings, or deal with our “stuff”.  Constant movement is a distraction to deeper, underlying feelings that cause us discomfort.
Self-importance: We often fear other people’s judgments and perceptions of us.  When we constantly exude a sense of urgency, we feel valuable in the eyes of others.
We feel unworthy:  We tie our inherent self-worth to achievement, doing and productivity.  We feel guilty when we slow down.  We feel unworthy if we are not doing something.

Competition and control:  We feel that if we slow down, we will run down and everyone will move ahead of us.  We want to be first.  We feel like we have to do everything, or life will fall apart.

We are lazy:  It is easier to rush through life and be on automatic, than to slow down and make a conscious effort to be present.  Being present takes energy and intention.  Rushing allows us to live on the surface rather than go deep.  That can be a safe place but in the long run very unhealthy.

We feel pressure:  We feel a constant pressure to perform.  This can come from society or the voice of our parents, where we feel the need “to do” in order to “be loved.”  We feel the need to hurry up and cram everything in, in order to feel worthy of love.  This can come from people pleasing and the need to prove ourselves.

False perception:  The idea that the grass is greener somewhere else.  The future is better than now. We feel we are missing opportunities by slowing down.

“What’s the rush?” is a good question to ask.  Knowing what is causing us to push alleviates the pressure that comes from rushing.  Stop and take a breath.  Invite some space in.  Acknowledge to yourself, “I know I am rushing right now,” and invite yourself back to the present moment.  It’s a good time to practice self-compassion, and compassion for others who are cutting you off on the highway!

To be present is to fully inhabit the moment, to slow down and pay attention to everything around us.  Letting go of inner rush allows us to experience higher states, like joy, connection and love.  It takes courage to live inside the moment. It happens when we slow down and find inner stillness.