When was the last time you did nothing? And by doing nothing, I do not necessarily mean lying on your bed or couch, scrolling through social media or binge watching a show on Netflix, or listening to podcast or the news. By doing nothing I mean sitting down and doing absolutely nothing; zilch, nadda, absolutely nothing.
I did nothing this past Sunday except take a long essential oil infused bath, extended afternoon naps, and a lot of meditation. It is important to note and interrogate within ourselves “Why do we always feel the need to be doing something’’. Our bodies and minds often beg us to relieve them from any physical engagement, and we do not listen. A keynote being; our bodies have a way of warning us to not be consumed by the self-imposed pressure to be productive day in day out.
Always keeping busy is one of the ways we try to manage our anxieties or to re-establish inner balance. People often do this through cleaning, multitasking, or organizing this and that. This state of over doing may provide momentary relief but would still leave the underlying symptoms and anxiety unaddressed. This is so because the urge to do something will arise and we find ourselves in yet another tailspin of tasks. Why have we become so obsessed with doing something productive or that which we perceive worthwhile with our time? Is it because we have latched onto this flawed perception that successful people are always busy, and that is why we have adopted the busyness as an extension of ourselves? Perhaps this is a reason we feel guilty and anxious when we’re not working.
We miss so many important moments and opportunities to connect with ourselves, our kids, our partners, and friends because we are busy doing things. We become obsessed with taking things off our to do list that we miss life happening in front of us. We miss the little details and signs of a child asking for a moment of love, or a partner asking for the same as we bulldoze through life till we perish. And as we lay there in our final moments we don’t want to look back and realise that we were so busy doing we forgot to be with ourselves and with the people who matters. We then become reminded that making time for ourselves to simply reflect, pause and just check in with ourselves may be the most productive thing we do.
In mindfulness world there is a term, NON- DOING, which rubs against our social conditioning, because we interpret it as laziness and irresponsible. When you imagine someone in the state of non-doing, usually what comes to mind is a messy home, bad health or a pile of dirty dishes. But now consider the opposite; imagine someone in a state of total doing, what comes to mind? While they might be efficient can you feel their frenetic energy, lack of focus and overwhelmed state?
Non doing might just be the medicine you need as you discover the simple beauty of being. After all, you are a human being not a human doing, so give yourself permission to simply be. Enjoy the pleasure of just sitting on your couch looking outside the window watching your dogs play, pleasure of drinking your coffee in solitude without watching or reading the news. Relaxing in the present without filling it with anything, simply allowing yourself to be in the moment with things exactly as they are without trying to change anything. Non doing is simply resting with your moment-to-moment experience, and not necessarily a way you would live your entire life. Well, I know I could! It just means setting time aside for yourself and just be with yourself, and rest with the fullness of your breath, body, mind, physical sensations, emotions, sounds and your heartbeat.
The thing is, if we need to show up as the best version of ourselves, we need to do more of that; be idle and do nothing. We need to shut off the engine, rest and just be. We need to wind down, recharge and allow ourselves to daydream. The best thing with embracing this non doing it allows us to carve out this blissful safe space for yourself where you don’t feel the need or urge to perform. The thing with life is whether you do or you don’t do, you’re still whole, because your self-worth has nothing to do with how productive you are, it has everything to do with how content and accepting you are with being you. The truth is there will always be something else to do, another problem to solve, another chore to cross off that list, but what’s the point? What’s the point of all of this if you’re going to show up exhausted and worn out?
Take breaks, savour the moments, and give yourself permission to just pause and relax.
Ways to experience more in your everyday life
1. Connect to disconnect: Scrolling through social media is the biggest time waster and energy drainer. After scrolling mindlessly through social media does it even leave you inspired? And every time you have a minute you unlock your phone and bury your head in it. Here is a plan; delete all those apps from your phone, disconnect so you can connect to with yourself, maybe that will remind you that if you have time to waste, you can waste it on mindfully being than mindlessly scrolling.
2. Dedicate a day for nothing but idle rest and self-care: Set one day or half a day as non-doing day. Ignore the emails, phone calls, and just relax around the house and reconnect with the people you love.
3. Stop guilt tripping yourself: Its ok if you don’t produce much work today or tomorrow and it doesn’t devalue you.
4. Dedicate a little ritual for your mornings: I start off my mornings with a cup of coffee in silence and just enjoy it, so find a tiny ritual that you can implement that will allow your body and mind to just shut down a little while.