My pastor recently did a sermon series on the importance of doing nothing – and the idea resonated with me. What does doing nothing entail?
Well, it doesn’t actually mean doing nothing. It doesn’t mean ignoring what is wrong or failing to speak for what is right. It doesn’t mean not following through on your responsibilities. It doesn’t mean letting others down.
Rather, doing nothing involves making and taking time for yourself. While doing nothing might seem passive – and in many ways it is – you can’t do nothing unless you schedule time to do so.
Doing nothing requires that you actively listen. No, not to the outside world, the hate speech, the vitriol. No, not even listening to those nearest and dearest. Doing nothing invites and expects that you actively listen to you. Listen to what your heart, mind, body, and soul are trying to tell you. Listen, without prejudice, to that still, small voice of your conscience or your God or your guardian spirit. Whatever it is that guides you, listen.
Doing nothing also requires breathing. Not the breaths you take after a strenuous workout. Not the huff of breath that indicates exasperation or frustration. Doing nothing mandates focusing on your breathing. Breathe in. Breathe out. A conscious, slow count. Again and again and again. Slowly. Feel the tension seep away. Listen to the gentle beat of your heart. Find the center; find you.
Doing nothing insists upon letting go of the apron strings. No, not the ones that tied you to your parental units; nor the ones that tie you to your offspring. Instead, these apron strings connect to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, email, text messaging, etc. and etc. Doing nothing does not mean permanently cutting those strings. But it does mean setting aside all those outside influences and pressures and being present in the here and now.
This week I am practicing doing nothing. I find doing nothing is easy to accomplish when I do nothing away from home. At home, when I endeavor to take time for myself, I feel guilty about not doing something that I think I should be doing.
So this week, I am away from all that makes up my normal life. I am indulging in good food and good wine. I am walking city streets that are vibrant and interesting and just familiar enough that I don’t worry about getting lost. I am going to bed when I feel like it with no worries about waking up in time for work the next day. I am sleeping as late as I want to – again with no worries about being to work on time.
I am curling up on the sofa with a good book (actually, I’m on book number four).
I am curling up on the sofa and watching the leaves in the trees as they dance outside the window.
I am curling up on the sofa under an afghan and enjoying the fall weather that I never see in Arizona.
I am still. I am silent. I am listening. I am breathing. I am doing nothing in ways that are recharging my mind and heart and body and soul.