The Skinny – Amy Brunell

being-and-doingI am a BEING, not a DOING!

Recently I went to a meditation retreat and really integrated into my heart that I am a being. I am not a doing. What does that mean? My “to-do” list is so exhaustive that it never gets completed. Ever. There is always something to do or someone who needs something that somehow only I can provide? Can you relate?

Part of the is phenomenon of living your life as a constant “to-do” list is that there is little long-lasting satisfaction. Oh sure, I knock things off my list. I feel good crossing things off. I love facing something hard and completing it. But after awhile the “to-do” list doesn’t give me any joy. No inner nourishment. Because underlying the “to-do” list is my critical voice checking in with my accomplishments, reminding me that there is still more to do before I could be … dare I say it… “:I am perfect,”  never mind just done.

The other flaw with my “to-do” list is that I am never just being Amy. Because being Amy isn’t doing something. My value was on my accomplishments, my accolades, how many people noticed, etc. Nothing came from within to tell me, “Even if you do nothing but sit there, you are awesome.”

So I had to start really looking at my inner messages about who I was and what I believed about myself and frankly my beliefs/criticisms of others. Because us “to-do” list people, we are also fairly judgmental about your lack of a list. If you don’t feel the need for a list, we struggle, both admiring and condemning you for going around without feeling obligated to the WHOLE FUCKING WORLD!?!?! How do you do that?

So realizing this thought process was the height of crazy (only for myself of course), I decided that I was a being on this planet, in this time frame, at this moment and I had to practice just being, not always, always doing. It didn’t mean I wouldn’t do things, but instead of focusing on the list, I would ask myself as I did something, “What do I feel?” “How am I being present?” “Be here in this moment fully taking in what you are doing now.” I’ve been slowing down, talking softer and trying very hard to remind myself just to be in this moment. A friend of mine even gave me a rubber-band to wear on my wrist to snap myself into remembering, “I am a being, not a doing.”

How’s it going?

I had the least stressful holidays I can remember. I just took every moment as it came. I didn’t worry too much and stayed present to respond to things so I didn’t have to react. There was zero fighting in my house this year, which was a miracle. It wasn’t a perfect holiday. But it was a peaceful one. Trading peace for perfection worked pretty well.

I’ll have to keep reminding myself about being instead of doing. I have decades of the other, so I’ll have to allow myself some time to integrate the changes. Peaceful, loving and present sounds good to me.

The Actors' Gang


  1. Just so you know, I’m taking this in on Saturday morning. You guessed it, 7:30AM. I’m giving it to my current leader, who’s name escapes me at the moment. I like this one.

    All the best, Amy,


  2. Once again, THANK YOU for the insight and the reminder! I am a major “to do list” person (I’m a stereotypical Capricorn). And although I tell myself I must stick to the list to stay organized and sane, it quite often does the exact opposite. The tricky part is that the stuff on the list still needs to be done. But I will work on HOW I do it rather than HOW MUCH I do of it.

    Thank you again, Dear Amy 🙂

  3. What a beautiful insight that resonates, especially the connection of value and perfectionism to the list completion. I will be re-reading this from time to time to serve as a reminder that its not failure if I take a break from the need to accomplish and just be still. Thanks!

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