When I was in the corporate world, I had a theory that the way people approach work can be thought of as two extremes on a continuum. On one end we have the ones who are the doers/movers/builders and on the other end are the ones who are “done upon”, or the go with the flowers/whatever my boss tells me/just here to collect my pay checkers. And most people are somewhere in between. Later on, on my path to enlightenment I realized that I had touched upon the classical male to female continuum or action to inaction. As I was always closer to the male part of this continuum in my personality, I didn’t realize that I was out of balance. I had never learned how to be receptive or more female.
In my training to become a coach, I learned about “doing” and “being” goals. I taught my clients how to make sure they were addressing their well-being and not just checking actions off of their “to do” list. Because I was so extremely on the male side of this continuum, I still didn’t get it. Once the title of “goal” was given to something, it meant action to me. For example, if I had “be more compassionate” as a goal, then I’d look for opportunities to “do” compassion. I had to volunteer, or go out of my way to talk to someone I really didn’t want to, etc. This way, I thought I was being more compassionate. It took me a long time and much agony to understand what being receptive is all about. I read many books including the Eckhart Tolle books to learn how to be in the “now” and in the moment and just be. It wasn’t easy.
It was only when I started losing my interest in the activities that I usually liked, that I was able to chill out. I remember, feeling very frustrated that I had stopped enjoying everything I loved to do that I realized how attached I had become to those activities. In a sense, those activities were my identity. Looking back, being ripped off of those “things”, was the best thing that happened to me for my inner development.
Today, I look at the people around me differently. Whether they are coaching clients, family members, or friends, I can safely say that whenever they are in some kind of emotional pain, it is because the balance of “being” and “doing” has tilted in one direction. And that direction is usually the one they are more comfortable with. For example, for myself, I know that whenever I am upset, it is because I am doing too much or worrying that I am not doing enough. So in other words, it is the doing piece that is driving me nuts. On the other hand, peace, real peace is when there is a balance between our male and female tendencies or our action and inaction modes. From that balance comes effortless action that is for the good of all. Action that is really a reaction based in anger, compulsion, judgment or fear is ego based action and is bound to hurt the person reacting and those in his or her way.
Based on my own personal journey, I have summarized the steps involved in obtaining peace that comes from getting the balance right:
1) Determine whether you are predominantly action/male or inaction/female driven
2) Make an inventory of the events in your life that were significantly negative or positive and determine if you were actively participating or just let it happen to you
3) Stretch yourself when you can on the small stuff, i.e., if you are always doing stuff, stop and smell the roses; if you never plan anything for the weekend, pick a Saturday and plan 5 significant activities and then do them
4) What did that feel like? Do it more and monitor your feelings. Ask your loved ones, how they see you. Have you changed?
5) If you successfully accomplished steps 1-4, then congratulations, you are on your path to a more balanced existence! If not, call a life coach to help facilitate and support you in this huge endeavor.