It’s Okay To Do Nothing

Let’s get this straight right off—I am not the kind of person who can easily just ‘do nothing’. I am constantly in motion. From the moment I get out of bed I am ‘in it’—mind running too fast, body in motion—moving!

Actually, I am in admiration of the people who can slowly enter the day, calmly and gently walking into the world. It is an art as far as I’m concerned. I am convinced that people who can ‘rest’ during the day are on to something—they are going to live forever. I have a friend—a hard physical worker—who goes home in the middle of the day to take a rest. You can often find him in his yard just reading in the middle of the day. I am in awe! Me on the other hand, I fly around in a frenzy of activity, jumping from one thing to the next, juggling my To-Do Today list like a masterful circus performer—all balls in the air, all in motion.

Orchids-LargeBut the other day, for some reason I cannot recall (the mind blurs in the midst of my kind of activity!), I found myself sitting in my back yard mid-day doing, well, nothing. In that uncharacteristic moment of quiet nothingness I noticed that the old orchid I had tossed out there when it was ‘done’ in the house had magnificently come into full bloom again. This had happened before with this undying survivor, but this was the first time that I truly saw it. Like a floral phoenix this discarded, forgotten basket of nature had bloomed again more beautifully than ever before. I had done nothing—given it no care, no thought at all in my busy life, but here it was gracing me with its magnificence. I just sat there. I didn’t go pick up the dry cleaning, make five calls and take three Instagram photos all at the same time. I just sat—in quiet—nothing.

And let me tell you what happened—I felt calm and at peace. My internal clock seemed to tick a bit slower. It felt good—really good. And suddenly I saw it so clearly: In all my movement, activity, constant motion why was there always so much not yet done? Why did the list stay long and the pressure stay high? With all of my constant going why weren’t more tasks getting finished–an orderly completion of the things that needed to be done. Was I just running around and between them—a constant obstacle course with only a marginal completion? I’m not sure but I do know that for the rest of that day I walked through things, one at a time, and saw completion of each one before I entered into the next. By the end of that day, I felt different. I felt like I really did get things done. I felt a quiet sense of completion and success.

I’m not sure if I can stay with that shift into a steady less frantic pace, but I do know that doing nothing that day made a difference. It gave me a moment of space to see things clearly. And it made me feel good. Maybe next time I’ll even take a nap—after all, it might help me to live forever!

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Perfection Not Required,

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