Are You A Human Being?

Or are you a Human Doing?


Have you ever paused to consider what human being, the very words we use to describe ourselves, really mean?


hu-man be-ing (noun) a man, woman, or child of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other animals by superior mental development, power of articulate speech, and upright stance.


Is it a surprise that the very term we use to describe our species, humanity in general, has the word BEING in it?


Now what does being mean?



  1. present participle of be
  2. existence


And be? Well be means to exist.


So what is it with our obsession to constantly be in action? To constantly be doing?


Yesterday at church, a friend asked me how I was, and all I could answer was that I was busy.




Really? Is that what I am? At my current emotional and physical state, is that what I am?


As I walked away I had the unsettling feeling that I had said something that I didn’t agree with. I wasn’t busy. I am. I am a person. I am a soul. Granted I am a person living in a season of chaos. I am confused. My mind is constantly streaming. I am starting a new job, finishing up my certification as a Certified Health Coach (I will be done in about a week, yay!). Starting an online business course and still getting settled into a new life. But I know this is a season, and no matter how crazy it may feel, it shouldn’t define me. 


It doesn’t define me.


Yet, once again I found that busy word slipping out of my mouth.


I know this isn’t just me. Ask any five people how they are in America - or granted most first world countries - and I can almost guarantee that at least one if not three will respond with something similar to busy.


What caused us to lose touch with the very essence of being human?


To sit still. To listen to the life pumping from our hearts. To calm our thoughts. To focus on our breath. To spend time in prayer, meditation or reading sacred texts?


Is it social media? A focus on success? Technology? The pace of the world? High work expectations? The “American Dream”? What?


It could be all of them, it could be none of them. Regardless, it has happened, and I think humanity has suffered as a collective due to it.


We have lost touch with others, with the natural world, our own bodies and with our creator.


The constant action of doing has become an addiction. An idol. Something we define ourselves by. 


I think it is time to change.


It is time we learn how to listen to our bodies. To understand what it is we really need. To spend time with family. To cultivate close friendly and romantic relationships. To stare at our partners in bed, rather than our phones before falling asleep. 


To notice the sweet smelling flowers in bloom as we run (Santa Barbara is absolutely bursting with floral scents along every sidewalk - jasmine, orange blossoms, roses and much more - it is amazing!). To spend time staring at and appreciating the nature that surrounds us - whether snow piled high or red rocks glowing as the sun sets or the mountains emerging from the darkness as the sun rises - it is all beautiful and an amazing gift.


To recognize what our bodies are really feeling. Recognize when we are exhausted and allowing ourselves to stop and sleep. Recognize that our bodies tell us what they want if we just pay attention. Be willing to experiment with foods to learn what makes us feel our best.


To recognize that there is something greater than ourselves in this universe and beyond. To allow our soul exploration and discovery. To allow ourselves to connect with God.


The concepts of fighting through life and pulling yourself up by the bootstraps are motivating, yes - but personally, I am starting to believe they are wrong.


We are meant to depend on God. To depend on one another. On the community around us. We are relational beings. 


When we unclench our fists and let go of the control we want over our lives- and give it over to God, something amazing happens. The pressure is lifted. It is no longer us against the world instead it is us with God


He gave us our individual desires and abilities for a reason. 


There is a reason I am so in love with Cape Town, South Africa that I went to live there for 2.5 years and have left a bit of myself there (and will be back again!).


There is a reason I have the dream to start my own business.


A reason I started this blog.


I do not believe that giving up control means giving up on your dreams - rather it is lifting them from our shoulders. Giving them over to a power far greater than our own. Giving ourselves the ability to be calm, to listen, to live and ultimately - just BE.


So join me. Choose to alleviate the pressure and focus on how you can change the way you look at yourself and your life so when someone asks, how are you? the answer is no longer just busy - rather it is something more. Because you are more than what you are doing. You are a HUMAN BEING.



Time To Rest

What are your associations with REST?


Are they positive? Negative?


If you live in America or another results-oriented culture, rest tends to have a negative association.


We often see stories glorifying the overworked, under slept, successful entrepreneur who manages to build a business despite all odds, no matter the time and cost to his/her personal life. And we look to these stories for inspiration. As the example of what we want to be. And what we want to be able to do.


We believe that the only way to success is to burn the candle on both ends. Schedule life so you can do it all.


Have a family, start a business, work full time, build the perfect body, etc, etc… 


And the crazy thing is we believe it!


We believe anyone can do it with the right motivation and tools.


We often think the only thing standing in the way is the right schedule, the right morning routine or the perfect planner.


Millions of dollars are made by people in this segment creating perfect planners, helping you design that perfect routine, or teaching you to multitask like a boss so NOTHING can get in your way.


So what is wrong with this? 


Is there something wrong with this?


And what about the people who have managed to find real success in this matter?


Well, to them I say - amazing! What you’ve managed to do is impressive - and it is possible. Many people don’t have a choice and have to live the overworked lifestyle just to survive. And they do it. And they make it work. Sometimes for a season and sometimes longer - but yes it is possible.


However, do I think it should be considered the norm for success or even glorified? 


No. Not at all.


I think the glorification of the overworked entrepreneur or successful business person who has climbed the ranks to success and fame is a damaging idol for our culture. 


And not a very realistic one at that.


I can say with near certainty that almost every one of us knows someone who fits this description of "doing it all" at once. And many of us have seasons in our lives where this is us. 


We also know, deep in our gut, whether we want to admit it or not, that this lifestyle is not sustainable. That in fact, it is dangerous. That living this way risks damaging our health, our relationships, our alertness and ultimately ourselves.


Study after study have shown the negative effects of little rest on the human body. We are all a bit different in terms of what we may need, but the one commonality between us, is a need for rest. 




So what is REST?


Rest is allowing your body and mind to stop. It’s saying no to the social obligations on the weekend. It’s giving your body an off day from the gym. It’s spending quality family time reconnecting, without the demands of work or technology interrupting. 


Rest is allowing yourself to pause. To take a deep breath. To meditate. To pray. To be creative. To play music. To read. To do relaxing yoga or enjoy a lazy walk on the beach. Rest is down time. It’s turning the mind off.


Rest is so simple and yet so complicated.


And at one point in time it was the norm.


It wasn’t that long ago that on a Sunday, shops either weren’t open or had very limited hours. You couldn’t go grocery shopping or to the mall. In fact, when I was living in South Africa this was common. Not in the city, but if you were in a small town, good luck getting any shopping done on a Sunday (especially after 2pm). 


South Africa has a culture that understands rest and holiday. That understands Sundays are for time with God and time with your family.


A big family lunch was the norm after church on Sunday, where friends and family gathered to make food, break bread together and rest (even completely pass out on the couch next to one another).


I am sad that this isn’t the norm here in the US and really believe it is something that needs to be brought back.


Instead in the States, a Sunday is like any other day of the week. Shops are open, people are out and about, students are grinding through their homework and people treat it as just another day of the week.


When did this change?


When did we lose the ability to stop?


When did we start to look down upon those who take time off for themselves to enjoy life, their families and the other joys of life?


When did we forget how to turn off? How to rest?


I have a number of theories. Everything from the workaholic “American Dream” culture that keeps this country running to our materialistic desires that would have motivated businesses to keep their doors open on a Sunday because it was and is a great day for sales. There are a myriad of reasons and I’m sure they all played a part.


Regardless, I think we need to take the rest day back


Each one of us needs to make a commitment to ourselves. To our families. 


We need to make a commitment to allow ourselves to rest - without guilt, without fear, without the need for distraction. To allow ourselves to really listen to our bodies and be willing to respond, even if that request is as simple as going to take a nap - and not feel guilty about it. 


We need to structure our lives so that we CAN have a rest day each week.


Can you imagine the impact this could have on you - your family - even your creative mind?


By allowing yourself time and space you never know what kind of creative revelations may come. 


It’s why I believe we hear so many stories of people having genius ideas pop in their minds while showering or doing something repetitive like running. These are moments in our daily routine when we aren’t thinking about anything in particular and our thoughts wander.


Now imagine structuring this time into your life for an entire day, once a week, for the rest of your life.


Can you imagine what would happen?


I can’t. But I bet it would be awesome.


So I have decided.


As of today, I commit to myself to set aside time once a week where I allow myself to shut off. To not feel guilty for allowing myself to rest. To sleep. To do those creative things that make me come alive, yet continuously put off.


I would bet that even with the perceived lost time, I will make more progress and be more productive than ever before in the time I do have.


So will you join me?


Will you commit to give yourself time to rest? To shut off?


Because I bet we will all see amazing results.



“The good life is built with good relationships.”

Last night I came across a TEDTalk by Robert Waldinger, the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, titled “What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness”.

It turns out The Harvard Study of Adult Development may be the longest study of adult life that’s ever been run. They tracked the lives of 724 men, for 75 years, year after year, asking about their work, their home lives, their health and more. About 60 of the original 724 men are still alive and participating in the study, most of them in their 90s. 

What did they find?

It turns out the lessons weren’t about wealth, fame or working harder. As Mr. Waldinger said, 

“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” 

Social connections are literally good for our health and on the flip side, loneliness, is toxic.

Yes we may be eating well and exercising all the time but if we are lonely and isolated we are at more of a risk than someone who has quality relationships.

“...when we gathered together everything we knew about them at age 50, it wasn’t their middle age cholesterol levels that predicted how they were going to grow old. It was how satisfied they were in their relationships. The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.”

It turns out quality warm relationships are protective of our health. 

And as Waldinger mentioned in his talk, “the sad fact is that at any given time, more than one in five Americans will report that they’re lonely.”

This is a tragedy

While we focus on the latest diet trends and foods for healthy living and longevity it seems the one vital aspect of our health goes largely ignored. And that is the aspect of healthy relationships and the absence of loneliness. 

So what can we do about this? What can we do today?

Well first we need to focus on the self. Look at ourselves. Look at our behaviors.

When you’re with other people are you engaged? I mean truly engaged. Or are you constantly checking your phone for the latest message?

I know I’m guilty of the one above, especially when I’m with my own family and I even know it drives me nuts when friends do the same thing. So my first step is remaining aware of this behavior and every time I catch myself reaching for the phone or tablet, instead I will consciously put it down and say no until I am alone and am not losing precious time with those I love.

Second, we need to think about others. 

Who do we know needs to get out more?

We could be thinking about our very introverted friend who has confided that they feel left out. Or we could consider the new mom who is suddenly separate of regular social interactions due to friends not knowing when they can reach out. Or what about the new person at church or at work who you know just moved here? Maybe invite them to join you and your friends at dinner. You never know what could unfold.

All I’m saying is you never know what impact you may have just by reaching out. You may unknowingly reach that 1 person in 5 in America who feels lonely. Maybe you can be part of changing that statistic. 

Ultimately, whether or not a friendship entails, it helps you since you will feel more connected to the community.

So to conclude I would like to ask, should we be “leaning in” (to steal Sheryl Sandbergs’ term) to work? Or should we instead lean into relationships with family, community and friends?

I would argue the latter.


Watch the full TEDTalk Here.