The end to another trip around the sun. I suppose every day is the completion of another 365 day cycle, but I love the many opportunities during the holiday season to contemplate growth, gratitude, and intention, and so I’m happy to honor this one as well as a touchstone and a reminder to pause and reflect.
I did it. I followed my heart all day. That’s really what this is about, I realized. It’s not so much about what I’m doing, but the spirit in which I’m doing it.
The day started off like this:
I spent an hour reading and sipping my tea in my pajamas. Heaven! I will be doing this more often. The morning felt so leisurely and expansive without the distractions of my to-do list, email, and Facebook.
Then I had the most delicious brunch and wonderful conversation with my dear cousin. Pear & Havarti Pie at Helser’s is my new obsession and I love how familiar old relationships continue to grow and deepen.
Instead of rushing onto my next task, I sat down after breakfast, put in a sweet Beatles musical that was recommended by my lovah, and folded some clothes. Hanging out on the couch in broad daylight for the second time in one day still felt very odd and luxurious, but I was starting to get used to it.
When Bekah got home we snuggled on the couch and watched Hank falling asleep sitting up in his chair–highly entertaining.
My kids are going out of town with Rich for Thanksgiving, and so we planned a special family dinner for the evening. When I picked them up, all three decided Chuck E. Cheese’s was the very best choice–and because my kids so rarely agree on anything all at the same time I didn’t argue. Bekah was feeling adventurous and jumped on. So we all 5 drove to SE Portland, dancing and singing to the van party songs Bekah was playing for us, and had a seriously fun evening together. My favorite moment was when we were all lined up elbow-to-elbow playing skeeball together. Priceless.
When we got home, all hopped up on soda & fun, Bekah and I snuggled up on the couch once more while the kids took turns performing for us. It was the best ending to the most fun & relaxing day I’ve had in a long time.
I think I could get used to this “doing nothing” stuff…
I’ve been so busy doing nothing today, I am not even going to work on a post!
The perfect end to a long and eventful day.
We’ve noticed your tendency toward constant motion and frenzy that makes a cat in sneakers look calm. To soothe your frazzled nerves we are instituting some rules for you to follow:
- Stop doing two things at once. We won’t even mention the 15 things we saw you (miserably) juggling last night. You are not winning, you’re making yourself crazy. Do one thing at a time.
- Waiting at a stop light, walking to the bathroom, and turning off your alarm first thing in the morning are not opportunities to check your email-facebook-blog-twitter-linkedin-instagram. Knock it off! You’re getting compulsive with the iPhone-checking, you’re giving yourself tendonitis of the thumb and you’re going to cause some sort of an accident. Sit down and check your phone when there is actually a need, not at any mili-second that your thumbs and one eye can be spared from what you’re doing.
- Chew your goddamn food. Then chew some more. Stop mindlessly gulping bites while catching up on your news feed (see #2). Enjoy your food and stop eating when you’re full (that’s another post).
Your Inner Yoda
I am contemplating doing nothing for a whole day. This takes some serious consideration.
When I told Bekah, she said: “Will you do it on a day when you don’t work and you don’t have kids?”
She shook her head and rolled her eyes, silently ridiculing me — “You don’t get it,” she sighed.
I am a person who is so viscerally compelled by the things I want to do, and by the things I do in the name of keeping my life running smoothly. Mostly I feel really good about this. I’ve gotten to a place where I’m happy with whatever I actually accomplish–I don’t usually feel disappointed if every item on my list isn’t crossed off, but I haven’t yet gotten to the place where I completely set aside everything I ‘could be’ doing and just do nothing. Nothing productive, anyway.
My body and mind have become so accustomed to moving from one thing to the next and the next that it feels compulsive sometimes. I catch myself dreaming of a slow, quiet life with lots of alone time–just about as close as I could get to the opposite of my current life.
So I want to stretch this advice into a longer experiment. Can I do it for a whole day? Take a breath? Do the next right thing? Don’t look at the to-do list? Don’t consult the iPhone or the calendar or distract myself with Facebook? Let the seated breathing position be the default, and then move when it’s right? I’m considering scheduling this for next Saturday. 🙂
Do you have any tips for me? How do you do nothing?