Don’t you hate when people tell you that? Don’t you mostly hate it because you can’t figure out how to “do nothing”? What????? Nothing? Like, not even read? Or check the time? Well…
To each his own, I say. Everyone’s version of nothing is a different story but I can tell you that for as many years as I’ve been on the quest for this enlightened meditation of “nothing” I could never quite swing it. I knew why it was important, and I’m sure you have the same issues, especially as a small business owner, the buzz of the continuous To Do List, after the work day is through when we are supposed to be spending quality family time, that list is being mentally reviewed and reviewed again, and upgraded and re negotiated. That elusive thing called time is so precious we think we’re never going to have enough of it to get all that needs to get done…..well, done.
Even in yoga, which I’ve practiced on a regular basis on and off for 30 some odd years, that dang Shavasana, or final meditation, which I’ve been practicing as well for as many years continues to elude me. Ok, lets call a spade a spade: I just suck at it. Here’s an example: My To Do List for the day is being formulated, then I’m chastising myself because of last nights dinner where I tried so hard NOT to burn the garlic in was a huge failure…I didn’t even like it, oh, did I send that email to the accountant? Why can’t I remember? I can’t remember anything anymore…I really should have that checked out….ok, stop! you meditating flunky, just enjoy this time for Gods sake…ok, I’m good now, no thoughts…did Rebecca remember her math homework? I think I saw it on the counter as I was leaving, isn’t it funny how when your eyes are closed in the sunlight you can see blue behind your eyeballs? Stop it!, etc., etc., etc….You get the picture. I could never be Elizabeth Gilbert in an ashram in India in Eat, Pray, Love. Forget it.
Until yesterday, when I had a breakthrough! Christmas day, 2011 and this gal succeeded in doing her version of nothing, which consisted of planning it first of all- turning down 3 wonderful invitations, not fretting, not making mental lists, not going near the computer except to check one teeny thing once, not dressing, not cooking, not picking up the phone except for 1 call from my daughter, not yelling at any children…all in all, just… NOT! This is what I did do: lie on the couch…in the sun, and then in the dark, and read the Sunday Times, I took a great walk in my pajama’s and very dark glasses hoping no one I knew would recognize me but instead mistake me as some wandering homeless woman, ate chocolate and napped, and then didn’t nap. I was a sloth. I slothed. It was all so slothy. And can I tell you something? I’m not sure just why it worked yesterday except for the fact that on these holidays we can give ourselves permission, and I took the bait…but whatever the reason, it worked. I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to hit the gym and get back into the groove, and here I am.
So I’m paying it forward to you. Get slothy. Sloth around at a time when you can give yourself permission to, when it really doesn’t matter. A mental break is essential for continued creativity and burn out prevention. It’s called maintenance and most of us really stink at it. You will get clearer and rested and more purposeful, and mostly you will feel more in control. It only took me my whole life to get here but I’m digging the occasional slothiness. Going to try it again next