Monday, February 28, 2011

be v. do

Two people can have the same job description, and one is holding a subtle or not so subtle life energy (eros) in doing their job while another is holding a subtle or not so subtle negative energy (thanatos) while doing the exact same job.

That is what you are really doing! Everybody will feel, suffer, or enjoy the difference, but few can exactly say what is happening. Life has taught me that we respond to one another’s underlying energies much more than to what people actually say or do. And what we all desire and need from one another is a life energy called eros!

Richard Rohr

We all have work to do. It's how we be when we are doing that work that makes the difference. Those two people can both do an excellent job at the material level. The one who does it with eros...that's the one that people notice--the one they want to be with and the one they want to do the job.

Being is important. How we be while we're doing matters, too.


Deb Shucka said...

I love Richard Rohr!

Yup, how we be matters most of all, and it's the thing we seem to have the hardest time existing in without getting twitchy.

Carrie Link said...


Kathryn Grace said...

You've given me much to think about today. It's interesting, that this life energy or negative energy is not necessarily something one can choose to have or evince. I am thinking of a person with whom I once worked. On the surface, she was all about positive thinking, smiling big, friendly, and socially assertive.

Underneath, and very close to the surface, she was a master of manipulation. No one liked working with her. No one trusted her. Her bosses were always trying to find ways to get rid of her, but she was excellent at her job, the most important parts of it, anyway, and letting her go would have left a hole in the company. She got kicked from one supervisor to another, and each one wanted to lose her immediately. She was deft at forming alliances. Equally deft at destroying the reputations, targeted bit by targeted bit, of people in whom she saw a threat, real or imagined.

Over time, I realized that more than anything in the world, she wanted to be liked and respected, two things that continuously eluded her. She once told me she had felt put down her entire life. In her mother's eyes, she could do nothing right. She desperately needed to feel in control of every situation.

So while she strove at being upbeat and friendly, she could never stop being manipulative and destructive.

That is what comes to mind, reading this post: Try as she might, this woman could not fake her way to eros, could not "act as if" her energy were positive.

It gives me pause. Do we receive negative energy or life energy through nurture? Are we born with one or the other? Or do we acquire one or the other over time due to circumstances?

If we are giving off negative energy, is it possible, through hard work and much self-reflection, perhaps, to change the very core of our being to a more life enhancing vibe?

Conversely, will a person seemingly naturally imbued with this life glow ever find it dimmed following tremendous loss and disappointment, perhaps? Or will they maintain it through all of life's valleys and peaks?