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HGM

Chasing adventure & living mindfully while parenting through mental illness

DBT Skills for Parents: Finding the Balance Between Being Mind and Doing Mind

DBT Skills for Parents: Finding the Balance Between Being Mind and Doing Mind


In mindfulness, we’ve talked about Emotion Mind and Rational Mind, and we’ve talked about walking the middle path between opposites. Another part of mindfulness and finding Wise Mind involves combining these two. Another way to find Wise Mind is to reconcile our Doing Mind with our Being Mind.

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Doing Mind is goal oriented. We are ambitious and we are focused on problem solving. Doing Mind tells you to fold the laundry and clean the house. It tells you to go for that promotion at work  or book that amazing trip for your family. Doing Mind is important, but we must not get stuck in it all the time. Doing Mind is somewhat future-oriented, as we are looking for the achievement. 


Being Mind is curious. Being Mind is present-oriented. You are focused on the uniqueness of the moment and it’s sensory experience. Being Mind is a wonderful place to be, and it is often the foundation of a good mindfulness practice. But it is not all that we are, and so we can’t make decisions solely based on the Being Mind. What about those ambitions and chores that do, eventually, need to be done? 

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Wise Mind acts from between these places. It reconciles the opposites behind Being Mind and Doing Mind. It walks the middle path. Wise Mind says “go for that promotion, but throw yourself into your current work”. It says “Do the laundry, but do the laundry fully present.” It says “Book the trip but enjoy your family at home” or “Set aside the trip for now, but keep working toward it.”

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In Wise Mind, you let go of having to achieve your goals, but you also throw yourself into achieving these same goals. It is the balance of doing and being. 


WIth motherhood, I find the pull between the Doing and the Being Mind very acutely. Our kids are inviting us to just be, but there is also so much to do. Be present in the pretend play or at the park, or do the chores that are beckoning. Be present and accept the messiness of motherhood or activate and try and build mastery to feel a sense of accomplishment. Wise Mind tells us it can be both; Wise Mind reconciles these opposites.

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