For many of us being busy is a badge of honor. We spend much of our lives doing. We define ourselves by the roles that we perform.

For many decades I have done the same, identifying myself by the function I played – student, athlete, spouse, priest, parent, CEO, coach, grandpa. Life was a to-do list of activities, many of which were linked to what I was taught men were expected to do; as Sam Keen described in his book Fire in the Belly – protect, provide and procreate.

Sometimes I “did” well; at other times, not so well. The defining by “doing” in and of itself is done, whatever impact it may have had for good or ill.

Today, I am shifting my focus from defining myself by living to do, to doing in order to be. No doubt, it is in part a reality check as the days remaining in this life grow fewer. I am choosing more activities that cultivate awareness of the simple beauties and complex dynamics of our journey. Meditating, being physically active, working and walking outdoors, writing and playing music are ways for me to develop awareness and attend more to the energy of the moment.

How do you define yourself? Is it the sum total of your activity and the roles you play? Is it the impact your activity generates on those around you? Is it the container you hold for yourself or others to receive the grace of each moment? Perhaps it is all of the above, a harmony of doing and being. We can be grateful and accountable for the fact that it is ours to choose.