Stuck Between Being and Doing


Bring on the lemonade. Drag out the lawn chairs. Summer has officially begun. 🙂

The classroom is cleaned, organized and packed up for the summer months.  Reflection mode is in high gear which means time needs to be spent “just being” for awhile. Reading, writing and walking with Sandy (our lab)  have consumed the majority of my past few days. It is glorious.

I am pretty good at doing “downtime”.

Expert – really.  I should give lessons.

Savoring this blissful peacefulness throughout my days, my children all grown and having flown out of the nest, I am learning to accept this pace of life as being “enough” right now. The quietness of an empty house is healing.  My company; myself.   It’s taken years to unlearn the multi-tasking, needing to keep busy, making stuff and going places kind of mentality.  I must be honest, I’m not proud of that person.  (But, dang, she got a lot done.)

Yet. . . (I used yet, instead of but, because there is always a but, but yet feels like but here.)

. . . when my husband comes home from his long day at work,  there is this unsettled feeling that I should be able to tell him all I had accomplished during these past 8, sometimes 10, even 12 hours (yes, he works too much). I mean, the windows need cleaning, my hostas are begging to have the taunting weeds pulled out and Sandy is now afraid of the dust bunnies (I need to buy a vacuum).  This is obvious stuff I should do.

Yes, the residue of this old narrative telling me “I should. . .”

All I can somedays tell my tired husband is that I got some writing done (in my notebook), some reading. . . and I took Sandy for a walk.

He is always happy for me that I got to go on a walk, especially on beautiful days.  So, we talk about Sandy and how she loves to run and play in the water filled ditches.  And, that she smells from this.

I am grateful my husband never complains about the things I don’t do.  He is careful here, as he knows what door he is opening if he goes there. But, my own soul, and mostly my mind, need to feel some sense of accomplishment.

This place in the “Being-Knowing-Doing” gap is a destination I tend to reside in more than I’d like to admit, even though I’ve worked hard to get here.  I’m not sure how long one should stay here.  Because if I stay too long, I can’t seem to come out.

I remain stuck.

In the crux between being and doing.

Carrying an angst that I can not name.

Perhaps it does not have a name.

I need guidance.

I reach for a book that calls to me right now, Do The Work, by Austin Krien.  I can not seem to find it, my writing room in disarray.  So, I grab the next one in line;  Let’s All Be Brave, by Annie F. Downs.  It practically jumps into my hands.

There are underlined words ~

“Courage involves action – like you are going somewhere.  Maps.  Movement.”

“Your life, start to finish, is a map. . . I don’t know where you’ve been and I don’t know where your map will take you.  I only know there will be moments when you feel like the map has turned or changed and moments when you realize you’ve read this map wrong all along.  You will crumple it up and throw it down, only to return to it for direction, once your finish your cryfest.  I get it.  I know.  But it’s your map.  Not my map.  Or my cousin’s map.  Or your spouse’s map.  It’s yours.”

Oh my.

I have to go back to my map.  Where’s my map?  Am I lost at sea?

Fear will set in again.  I know that.

I am not a risk taker – never have been.  The only risky thing I ever do is ride my motorcycle – that’s it.  The males in my family make up for what I lack in risk-taking.  I should not say that.  My daughters are more brave than I can ever be.  They take risks.

But, I need to be braver, I think.

I should be writing. My writing dreams seem to be all stored up in notebooks and there is big fear here:

~of choosing the wrong one to dive into as a project.

~what if I tire of it?

~what if I don’t have time to finish?

~how will I ever stay focused?

~what if no one likes it. . . or even reads it?

~for sure, nothing will get done around here if I commit to writing.

Yes, this must be my problem, I tell myself.  It’s fear.

I glance at my writing desk and see chaos.  Just like my mind.

And, my house right now.

The real answer hits me hard and I really try to ignore it because I really do want to write. But, I must take care of what really needs to be done first.  I scan my shelves for a the third book of today’s writing session:  The Life-Changing Magic of  Tidying Up.


It’s cleaning.  Creating order.  De-cluttering.  Wash the windows.  Pull the weeds.

Go buy the damn vacuum.

This work is not pleasant.

I text my mother and tell her I can’t stop eating.

“Go outside and pull weeds, there’s no food out there, ” she replied.

Ugh.  How did she know?

Maybe, just maybe, today – I’m supposed to accomplish something.  Just something small though.  I don’t want to set the bar too high. And, I’m afraid of falling off the “just being” wagon.

I’ll tidy up my writing room and go pull a few weeds.

Maybe, make some chocolate chip bars.

That should be enough “doing” for one summer day.

For now.

Until I find my map.






7 thoughts on “Stuck Between Being and Doing

  1. I think of “should” as a dangerous word. When I catch myself saying it, I stop and think about why I said or wrote that. It really is someone else talking there. What to I really want is the next thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you, Maryellen. We have to recognize the difference between Should and Must. Usually, my should voice is my critical self. Her name is Bernice. 🙂 I can hear her coming a mile away.


  2. The transition from the school year to the summer break is always jarring for me. There’s no deceleration period, and it always leaves me floundering until I get my feet under me. Thanks for the insight into my own June.

    Write. There will be readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is a hard transition for me as well, Tim. We need the allow the day to flow into it’s own natural rhythm, I just tend to let it take a little longer than most. Maybe I am just lazy.

    Thank you for reading my words. It means a lot to have encouragement.


  4. Shari, how is it that whatever you are feeling, and writing about, is exactly what I am feeling. I am constantly thinking about what I should be “doing” whilst trying to enjoy our new home, new area, new community. All I have to say is AMEN! Thank you for putting into words everything that I am feeling.

    I am going to draw out my own map…maybe that will help me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, you must be in a continuous state of overwhelm, Joy. Throw a new job into the mix, too! And, yet, you need this rest time as well. It’s hard for us when our brains and bodies have been on overdrive for 9+ months. I’m starting small – do a little each day. Do something brave each day – for you, it’s going out and meeting new people. That’s big time bravery, girl!

      And, thank you for being a faithful reader of mine. 🙂


  5. Shari I have the same days as you, those moments when we are not sure we are working on the right thing. I use to change projects when a new idea came to me but then I realised I was sabotaging my aim to finish anything. So now I am sticking to one project to see it through and its hard. Anyway I am pushing through slowly with the aim to finish by the end of this year. That is the goal. I hope you find your map and you follow that passion and find your bliss. I stopped reading books on writing because someone said start writing already and learn along the way. I must admit since taking on the picture book dreams I have learned so many lessons. Enjoy your summer vacation time, its winter here a good time to write.


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