Going on Being

I love the phrase “going on being.”  It was coined by psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott to refer to the uninterrupted flow of authentic expression that can frequently be seen in children.  Children and adults who have the capacity to “go on being” are often relaxed, spontaneous, open, responsive, and resilient.  They have a capacity for awe, wonder, and joy, and are comfortable in their own skin.

When we are “going on being” we are in harmony with life and with our own process.  We trust the natural unfolding of events.  Accepting the ebb and flow of the cycles of life, we relax our grip. We’re able to soften around expectations and let go of trying to control that which can’t be changed.  We align with what is rather than impose our agendas on people, places, and things. We’re able to tolerate uncertainty and ambiguity, which is very freeing, because so much is uncertain. Fully engaged in the present we move with the moment-to-moment flow of experience.  We feel connected to our bodies and to the spiritual, emotional, and relational dimensions of life..

This isn’t to say that we refrain from being active or proactive.  We don’t just sit back when action is what is called for.  Our actions, though, are not fear-based. They are informed by Being, our intrinsic nature. We don’t feel driven or desperately attached to outcomes.  Demands often become preferences. Doing and being move in a kind of dance with each other.

Many of us enjoy periods of “going on being.”  At these times we are easeful and “in the flow.”  Living in the culture that we do, that is oriented to “doing,” it isn’t always easy to make being a priority.  If you sense that greater fulfillment and satisfaction could be possible for you if you leaned a bit more into being, you can choose to cultivate this in your daily life.

Try this simple practice

Pause at various times throughout the day for a few minutes, or more.

Let your busy mind gradually slow down as you shift your attention to whatever you’re aware of in the present moment other than your thoughts. Take two or three slow, deep breaths. Become aware of physical sensations, feelings, insights, and/or subtle impressions in your body-mind. Feel into and listen with your whole being to your whole being.

Be with whatever is occurring without judging or analyzing your experience. Let yourself not know what is next, what any of this means. Gently make room for the ever-changing flow that occurs moment-to-moment. Open to what is so.