Welcome to Saint Augustine, circa 1953, and also today. Where there isn’t much to do but be. The Fun Bunny is one of those beachside motels that was built–quite literally–on the beach, before sea creatures had a say in where motels get built. It has two claims to fame: The first is that Rue McClanahan (of The Golden Girls) filmed a made-for-tv movie there in the 1990’s. The second is that each room has a unique hand painted mural. Artist unknown, for a reason. I think those two facts perfectly articulate everything that needs to be said about the Fun Bunny. It’s a great place to be. And there is nothing to do.
But what is the difference between doing and being anyhow? It seems like splitting hairs when you approach things in a language-based sense. I’d describe doing as participating in society in ways that could be construed as a state of ‘busy’ or ‘preoccupied’. I’d imagine these activities could be categorized as either productive or destructive. By contrast, I’d describe being as having insight into the interaction between your internal and external environment. If I were doing a trip to the beach, sitting around might feel boring. If I were being at the beach, I might notice how I feel when I sit with nature. I could be doing anxiety, or being afraid.
The main difference between doing and being is how much awareness you allow yourself. Awareness is a can of worms. It’s understandable why some people would rather take a pass and stay busy. And when you first dabble in awareness after a long departure, it feels pretty shitty. Some of it has to do with false advertising, selling the idea of enlightenment as a binary experience. Awareness is harder to describe with words. I think dandelions are aware–they have no choice but to be aware. But I also think once we have the choice to not be aware, as human adults, it becomes an enticing option. Sort of like the lotus eaters of the Odyssey. Before you know it, really without knowing it, you become busy doing and forget about being. It starts off innocently, as all addictions do. Trying on various identities and costumes. Keeping the ones that provide us with the fix we are looking for: Approval from the tribe. Security. Maybe even superiority for that extra high.
I had collected an entire wardrobe of costumes and identities both personally and professionally–that is to say, I was busy doing so that I could avoid being. But the armor was starting to feel itchy, claustrophobic, heavy across the shoulders. I needed a moment to breathe. Given my many competing priorities and commitments, I was able to find just over an hour each Thursday, around midday, one spring. So, every Thursday I would hit pause, drive home from work. Take off my armor. Crawl in bed. Cry for 45 minutes. Put my armor back on. Drive to work. Hit play.
My dear friend Dianne [That’s not actually her real name, it’s her pseudonym in this memoir I wrote. Confusingly, it’s the real name of another character in the book, who also has a different pseudonym of another real person;] thought it was extremely polite and empathic of me to schedule my foray into awareness around the expectations of others that I perform the roles to which they had become accustomed. I also scheduled a few weekends for me to practice being. These mainly consisted of me crying in a bathtub and laying on the floor, eating cheese. You can see why some people are like, ‘Meh–I’d rather keep doing. Maybe I’ll buy a boat.’
Apparently the universe thought my awareness apprenticeship was going so swimmingly that I was offered an accelerated course in being. Circumstances afforded me the opportunity to be rid of all of my costumes, all at once–to be existentially naked. When there is nothing left to do but be. One of the main drawbacks of being is that you don’t always get to choose what you are being. One of the main advantages is that you get to see doing for what it is. And you can decide with clarity what to do or not do. Enter Fun Bunny Motel. Why? Because, why not?
Thank you for reading this post. You may enjoy reading Lady Garland Tames Her Dragons available on Amazon, Audible, and Kindle.