Indulging In The Joy Of Doing Nothing
My typical day is pretty much packed. Even before I get out of bed, I already have a list of what I need to accomplish for the day. You can imagine the kind of days where you’re always doing and there’s always more to do.
Sometimes there’s this internal dialogue in my mind that goes something like this.
My mind: “Why do you have this need that you must always do something?”
Me: “Because that’s what it is. A need. There are essential tasks ahead.”
And then I’d come up with a long list of what happens if I don’t. Exhausting, to say the least.
If you’re anything like me, I feel you. We become so obsessed with the idea that we must constantly do something. We pack every minute and every hour of our time with never-ending lists of chores and work deadlines that are falsely translated into productivity and self-worth. And worst, when we’re not doing something as we should, we feel guilty and anxious. And so without thinking we push ourselves.
I have no problem sitting still for five minutes doing absolutely nothing, but the trouble is I’d rather not subject myself to that kind of torture. Doing nothing can be overwhelming.
One day I was talking to myself, (yeah, I do this kind of thing often) and my mind said, “You never have enough time to do nothing, to just sit.” My reply was, “No, that’s not true. I meditate every day. I take the time to make sure that I cultivate this habit for mind-body-soul balance.” My mind argued, “No, that doesn’t count. Your meditation session is a chore. It’s something you tick off at the end of the day. You’re doing something, as opposed to doing nothing — you’re meditating.”
I pondered. That’s exactly what it is. Although meditation has helped me tremendously, it’s not to be my go-to activity for doing nothing. Doing nothing involves — doing nothing. Just chilling, without simultaneously reading, or writing. And no sleep, of course.
What does that look like for me? Sure I’ve had those moments — long quiet walks in nature, people watching while I’m out on solo coffee dates, enjoying the sunset, essential-oil-infused baths in the afternoon, watching the waves kiss the shore at sea.
Those are the moments when I’m not worrying about my writing assignments, not scrolling on social media, and not skipping tracks for about a thousand times on my Spotify playlist. In other words, I’m doing nothing. Just being. There’s tremendous power in that, by letting go of the ‘shoulds’ and doing nothing for a while.
I truly believe that letting ourselves be still is a skill we need to master. This means for us to be successful at it, it has to be deliberate, just like learning to quiet the mind during meditation without pressuring ourselves to do anything.
— Esther George, Purposefullifenow.com