The Beauty of Doing Nothing
The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life’s achievement.
- Elizabeth Gilbert
I had the strangest experience this weekend. It was around 2pm on Saturday and my baby girl was sick with fever. I had cancelled the class I was meant to teach that afternoon and surrendered to the fact that we would be staying indoors all weekend so she could recover. I had just put her down for her nap and came back in to my living room to sit on the sofa.
And then it hit me.
The strangest weirdest feeling I had felt in quite a while. I had absolutely NOTHING to do!
No where I needed to be. No need to pick up my phone or laptop or camera or any kind of kitchen utensil. I had nothing I was worried about or stressed about. I wasn’t struggling with any kind of emotional upset or even thinking of anything in particular. There was literally NOTHING going on…… and it was strange.
As I, quite hesitantly began to slowly surrender and relax into this great big ‘lovely’ and ‘uncomfortable’ hole of space that I was now sitting in. On a rainy cold and cozy Saturday afternoon, with nothing to do and no where to go. I realised I couldn’t remember the last time I felt like this. It was both utterly blissful and hugely unsettling all at the same time.
And it stayed with me the whole weekend.
When did doing nothing and having nothing to worry or stress about become so alien to me?
Has my life become such a ball of busyness, stress and worry that that was becoming the norm?
Wowsers. As I reflected back over the past months it is true, I have either been worrying about my hubby being out of work, me losing a baby, financial stresses, trying to keep our marriage together, my daughters whooping cough, me CONSTANTLY working or cooking or taking photographs, or teaching….. AIYAAAAAA ….. just listing it all makes my head hurt and my eyes go cross eyed!
And so now I need to own my shit….. I think I am addicted to busyness.
Urrrghh… the journey continues! I have a sneaky suspicion that I am not alone with this though which is comforting!
Either I fill my schedule so much that it is constantly busy or I fill my head so it is constantly thinking. I’m either thinking of more recipes, more article ideas, more things I want to share or teach, what I’m going to feed my daughter that night, where we are going on holiday in a year…. ….STOP!
I am so addicted to it that I even attract experiences in my life that keep me having to stay in the busyness.
And now it’s Monday and having all that lovely space has stuck with me. And I want more of it! And I would like to make changes in myself and life so that it becomes the norm and not the alien experience.
Two things immediately spring to mind…. setting boundaries…. and letting things go!
I think in the western world we live in today nothing ever really stops. Especially now with social media and the internet and TV and city living. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Monday or Sunday, it all just keeps buzzing away. And as I run my own business and am self-employed AND a mother to a toddler, I can easily find myself working all times of day 7 days a week.
Boundaries!!! It’s time to set some boundaries.
No more instagram posts over the weekend. Unless something totally amazing happens that HAS to be shared…..NO MORE. Niche. Nilch. Neine. No!
No more working over the weekend unless is it an ABSOLUTE necessity and totally worth it.
No more surfing on my phone or being on my laptop over the weekends.
Ouch. These all feel harsh AND totally amazing all at the same time.
But all these habits are fuelling my addiction. This constant busyness to apparently keep me instantly ‘in touch’ with the outside world but increasingly getting me ‘out of touch’ with my inside world.
And the worrying and stress and noise in my mind? It’s time to let it go!
I have a choice at any given moment to let go of thoughts and ideas and worry’s and stresses. And even though doing it seems like it may achieve something for me – like solve the problem – in fact it does not and usually creates more problems. Like a stressed out Nicky.
I hereby declare to all of you readers that I will be choosing to let go of stress and worry (as best as I possibly can!) and I choose more of this lovely peaceful calm nothing feeling I got to experience over the weekend to occur in my life MORE please.
Is this just city living or is this where we are all going as a western society? And why do we do it? Why this addiction to noise and busyness and stress and worry?
I am no guru and if I were to speak to a guru about it I’m sure he would tell me it was part of the human condition. Because as humans we have ego. And as humans with ego we tend to always want more of something, or to be somewhere else, or achieve something else, or trying to change the situation we’re in rather than accepting the moment.
In fact, I remember many a ‘guru’ type teacher telling me that there is actually no where to get to anyway. That all there is is here. Now. This moment.
There is never going to be that perfect achievement or moment or busy making thing that will finally give us the answer so that we can stop. We will just keep finding something else to do or to be busy about.
And we may not ever be able to rid this behaviour or ego (whatever you want to call it) forever throughout our lives, but what we can do is keep catching ourselves in it and make changes. Or learn from it.
Because in that nothingness was a ‘me’ I haven’t spent time with in such a long time. And I miss that part of ‘me’. I miss that ‘Nicky’ that gets pushed aside and bulldozed around underneath all the noise & busyness. And spending time with that version of ‘me’ was more of a gift then anything else, to myself, to my husband and to my baby girl.
And in that nothingness was a quiet peace, a stillness and a calm. And in that nothingness was my connection to spirit. And in that nothingness was everything that I needed to know that I get so busy trying to chase and find out, in the first place.
So for me…. this weekend was another sweet reminder…… that this nothingness is something that I want rather than keep avoiding.
So for those of you that are busyness addicts like myself, I am writing this post for you. Watch yourselves, catch yourselves and call yourself on it. Don’t keep ignoring the beautiful version of ‘you’ that sits in the centre of those rare ‘nothing to do’ moments. In fact create more of these moments so you can meet you again. So that it becomes more of the norm than the strange. So that you can connect with spirit and hear everything that you need to hear and stop having to chase all that your chasing.
And if we all do it. If we all make these choices. Us busyness addicts together. Maybe we can all slow down so much that we connect to each other a lot more. Maybe we may slow down enough to connect with someone in the street that we would normally storm past and not even see. And maybe we may have more beautiful moments connecting with our loved ones without any distractions. And maybe we may all become more addicted to this beautiful soft nothingness place that we lose, and forget the need to keep chasing something else. And maybe we will begin to land in our heart and feel much more whole, and grounded and nourished and at peace in ourselves and our lives.
Maybe. Just maybe.
So I’ll leave you there with this ‘maybe’ thought and say that ‘maybes’ are just visions waiting to be born.
For now I’m wishing you all a magical, nourishing and peaceful week full of nothingness moments. And I look forward to meeting you all there!
Into the Heart
Let the Love
Whatever is left of you
- Chris McCombs