Doing Nothing

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?”

(Incredulously) “No!”

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?

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3 thoughts on “Doing Nothing

  1. Ahhhhh… that sounds so nice. I was just telling Sean that I really want a day, alone, where I can lay on the couch all day and watch movies. Not the movies that other people want to watch or movies that everyone can agree on either. Alone. My movie choice. Chick flicks, sappy, sad movies that I can bawl my eyes out to and fill my heart with. Good for you. Maybe after Laela gets bigger and is in daycare I will schedule an afternoon to do this….

  2. Isn’t some of the essence of ‘doing nothing’ lost if you have to plan/schedule it? Does it not then just become an item on your ‘to-do list’?

    • I agree! I’m finding that there is some element to scheduling anything that then contributes to it feeling like a chore in the moment, while balancing that with the reality that in order to honor the priorities in my life scheduling is a helpful tool. I am finding that setting aside a day or a chunk of time to do whatever I want does not seem to detract from the spontaneity. The more tightly I schedule, the more restricted I feel. What do you do for rest or downtime, Sarah?

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