Loneliness In The Modern World – Part Four
Part Four – How to Become a Human BEING Again
Have you been a human being lately? Strange question, right? The answer for most of us is no, we really haven’t been human beings lately. The more accurate expression is we are really good human doings. Yes, human DOINGS, not BEINGS. Stay with me!
In this 21st century life, we are busier than ever. We were supposed to be more present and less busy with the advent of technology to connect us and do for us. However, simply managing that technology can take up a huge amount of our time unexpectedly. The coordination alone is mind-boggling. The attention we need to give in order for all that 21st century convenience to run smoothly is part of what is turning us into human doings.
This life is also very noisy and distracting. Even as I sit writing this, there are cars streaming past the window, a construction crew doing something next to the building, messages pop up on my computer, and people are all around me. It is almost inescapable. How the world works almost beckons us toward constant movement and busyness.
We lose a lot when we get carried away into full doing mode. In fact, research has found our lives are literally in danger if we become more human doings than human beings. According to Madeline R. Vann, MHP, our emotional health has a direct effect upon our physical health and vice versa due to the direct correlation between how the endocrine system is functioning and mental well-being. Likewise, chronic stress can also cause a decline in our health and well-being – according to the Harvard Medical School – causing everything from high blood pressure to addiction from coping with the stress to heart disease and depression.
In 2008, I began to hear the calling out of my human doing state towards a human being state, but I ignored it, so my body ramped up the call. It began with a horrible case of strep which only cleared after two rounds of antibiotics and progressed into two straight years of illness that cumulated in shingles at age 35. 35-year-olds are not supposed to get shingles unless they are human doings who don’t heed their wake-up call. I finally made the connection and made myself an appointment with a therapist. What I learned was I was so busy doing my life that I no longer lived my life and my body was screaming for relief. I needed to move back into my human being body, which meant lots and lots of reconnection work.
My therapist surprised me with some of her recommendations for how I reconnect to my human beingness. I thought we were going to dive deep into the dysfunction of my family of origin and how that messed me up, and we did do some of that, but for the most part, my homework seemed to lack relevance until the day it didn’t.
I started a garden. I went back to church. I began scheduling a monthly girl’s night out. I journaled. I prayed. I meditated. I played with the boys. I watched stupid humor movies and laughed until I cried. I took long walks with people I loved. Then one day, it hit me as I sat in the dirt of my garden pulling weeds—I was a human being again! I didn’t know exactly how it happened or when and it didn’t matter. I felt connected in that moment to who I was, the world around me, the people I loved, and the earth itself. In that moment, I started to love gardening as the profound metaphor of pulling weeds soaked into my awareness. I hated gardening (and my therapist a little bit for assigning me gardening) up until that moment because prior to that moment, gardening reminded me of all that went wrong in my childhood. But, on that particular morning, as the sun rose, I felt deep in my soul that all the work I had been doing in and out of the therapist office had been like pulling the weeds of doing to gain favor out of my life. There wasn’t enough doing I could do to make me more lovable, more worthy, more fully human. The only way to own my worth and humanity was to feel deeply and explore the pain and to embrace the healing.
I rose from the dirt, literally, that day a brand new woman. I was a human being again. I must warn you, it isn’t something I became aware of once and all is running smoothly now. No, it is a daily practice of being present. Present to my emotions, my needs, and my body. Present to the people in front of me. Present to the silence, yes, the silence which is scary because I might hear something in my head or heart that I have to face.
I encourage you to find what moves you towards and keeps you rooted in your human beingness and moves you away from finding worth and value in how you perform and what you do each day. Download a meditation app and try quietness for 10 minutes a day. Check out your neighborhood church. Plant a garden and dig in the dirt. Sit or stroll outside every day, no matter the weather. Put away your devices when you are with people. Be present to what is in front of you and slowly you will find your human being once again.