There’s a difference between the word “BE” and “BEING.” Yup, one’s longer. One’s a verb and one’s a past participle as well as a noun. But, forget all that stuff I learned (or didn’t) sitting restlessly at my desk in English. I’m talking about the way the words make me feel.
I’m bombarded all day with well intentioned posts telling me what to be: be kind, be happy, be strong, be you. As a theatre director, I know if I shout, “Be Happy,” the actor’s mind would instantly go into freight mode and think, “I’m lacking. I need to add something. I suck.” Forcing someone “to be happy” in a scene doesn’t really work. After all, how do you “be happy?” Force a smile and some jazz hands? Raise your eyebrows? Change your voice? Sure, that might work sometimes, but what do you do when it doesn’t?
Being seems gentler to me. Being happy, being strong, being kind, being me. It implies I’m already these things. Maybe not all day every day but every day. It’s already part of my existence. I may have neglected it today or this year, but I was born with it. There’s much comfort in that. I don’t need to go shopping or force it. I can start to access it by recognizing I already own it. Like Michelangelo’s David, I may need to clear away the stone so I can clearly see it, but, it’s there. It’s been there the whole time. Being.
Being feels less like a command and more like grace. Grace is defined by Webster as a “refinement of movement.” I like that. An actor can do that. I can do that. I can refine my movement as I step through my day, Being Me.