Do you do, nonstop?
Turns out I do.
After getting my boot, I made an agreement with myself, I, Wendy Meyer, will do less. At work (a very busy preschool yard) I said to my team, today I am going to do less. I need to heal my foot. And so I sat in a chair built for a four-year-old and watched.
I watched my discomfort creep in as the other teachers around me busied themselves getting ready for the day. I watched my discomfort as kids started arriving, parents in tow, and I sat, doing nothing. I watched my discomfort in sitting alone as other teachers chatted with families. I watched my discomfort in the stillness of this moment and saw my habits of business as a distraction from my discomfort. And I said to myself, “Hello, discomfort. I am with you. You are not alone. It’s ok to feel this feeling. You are strong enough to feel this feeling. In fact, it’s even a little exciting.”
My foot continues to reveal many things to me about me. I can multitask, like a chicken with its head cut off. Not that chickens with no heads multitask, but my brain while multitasking is a bit like running around with no head. Hello, overwhelm.
Trying to have my head everywhere actually results in my head being nowhere.
After three weeks I finally spent the $400 bucks to get an MRI on my foot. I have a stress fracture. Another $150 for a boot. The recommended treatment for a stress fracture. “Can’t I just wear my wooden clogs?” I ask. They really give me quite a bit of stability. “Not recommended,” replied my foot doctor. “Though of course you can do whatever you like.” Sigh. It’s been a rough week. I might have lice. Some kids at my school had lice a couple weeks ago. It might just be stress. My head is itchy.
WTF God. WTF money. WTF pussy. (see previous posts if you are wondering what the hell I’m talking about) What the fuck. Seriously. I just wanna know.
Clearly, “doing it right” is not going to spare me from life’s discomforts. Doing, doing, doing, is not going to stop calamity from finding me if calamity is meant to find me. And to be clear, I have been doing it right. Social cue: You can smile here. I’m being ironic. Funny. Painfully honest.
Note to self: remember about duality? Good/Bad, Right/Wrong, Pretty/Ugly. When one extreme exists, so does the other. If I am doing it right, there is an equal possibility that I am doing it so so wrong. And this, my friends, is where suffering happens.
“I am not a big fan of positive thinking. The term suggests that there is something negative that you have to counteract by being positive. That is an artificial duality.” –Srikumar Rao
Being right is not wrong; being wrong is not wrong. Finding the balance of these two ideas is not right or wrong (though maybe it’s a bit more peaceful). It’s all being. We are human beings.
So where do doing and non-doing meet and share a nice cup of tea, preferably in the shade of an old oak tree, in a quiet garden, buzzing with hummingbirds? Or maybe right smack dab in the middle of your everyday life, which for me is Los Angeles, a city of perpetual motion.
Back to the school yard, where after a few moments of discomfort I found myself in conversation with some parents and children about the big boot on my foot. About my stress fracture, about not knowing how it happened. A dad joked that stress is fracturing. Ah, acceptance. And just like that. My discomfort floated away. Humor, community, connection, sharing, staying with myself. The antidote.
Again I say to my foot, thank you.
You don’t need a stress fracture or immobility to see your relationship with doing and seeing your relationship with doing does not mean you have to do something about it. Just notice. Noticing offers you choice—when you choose, you are no longer on automatic pilot. There is no right or wrong. Everything leads you to the next moment, where you will get to choose again. There is freedom in the simple act of noticing.
If you find comfort in words during this process of watching your habits (I do), try these:
Share your process with doing in the comments. It’s a wonderful antidote = Humor, community, connection, sharing, staying with yourself.
Until next time. Love, love, love you.