I actually mean nothing.
Not “relaxing” by going to the beach and using your time there to complete tasks. I know this sneaky, false method of doing nothing because I am quite guilty of it. People always tell me, you don’t know how to relax. I indignantly reply, Yes I do! And then promptly take myself to go lay on a blanket in the park … with five notebooks, three forms of reading material and a to-do list in hand.
I still have a really hard time doing nothing. My whole life I’ve trained myself to try and optimize my time for productivity. You’re talking about someone who thinks of her time walking her boss’s dog as a great opportunity to complete a Spanish lesson on her phone.
But maybe, just maybe, I should simply hang out with the fucking dog. And be there. And do nothing but walk the dog and be fully present in that moment in my life.
So no, I don’t mean reading, or doing yoga, or talking on the phone to a friend. I mean allowing yourself to actually do nothing, which is infinitely harder than engaging in relaxing activities.
When you stay in the moment and breathe, simply being, doing nothing … your brain will come up with a million reasons you shouldn’t. It’ll tell you that it’s bored. It’ll tell you this is a waste of your time. But if you don’t sit with yourself and simply experience the sensation of existing in your body, in this moment in time, in this place in space … how can you ever actually know yourself? How can you expect to connect with your physicality, your intuition, your essence? The spaces in between?
You are not here to complete to-do lists. I know that’s not your purpose on this earth, and I hope that you know that too. And yet, it often feels like that’s what we’re here to do, doesn’t it? My life sometimes feels like one endless list of tasks to complete, and I’ll admit that I get great satisfaction from crossing them off … but why? What does that actually mean? Getting my tasks done, or not, has absolutely no bearing on my worth as a human. It also doesn’t mean that I’m using my time on this planet wisely, even if it’s “productive” on the surface.
When I die, is my gravestone going to say “She lived a good life because she got everything done”?
Fuck, no. Please not that. So, when you think about it that way … does doing nothing really sound so bad? Immersing yourself completely in the beauty of simply existing? Are you going to continue to let that judgmental voice in your head rule you, or are going to tell it to screw off so you can actually sink into the joy of being alive?
What if you just do nothing?
The truth is, none of us are that important in the whole scheme of things. You can do nothing. The world will adjust. It has a funny way of doing that when it’s forced to, and your life won’t fall apart if you take a few hours to walk in nature and really BE there. Or lie under the sky, gazing up and reflecting on who you truly are when everything else is stripped away. Or however the hell else you want to do nothing.
Getting to know yourself deeply and intimately is more important to your well-being than making sure you do thirty more minutes of cardio, or answering that email immediately. If you set boundaries with what’s outside of yourself, you’ll be surprised at how much space you can create in your life. You can take the time to do nothing and experience the root of your own soul.
You’ve got this – and you’ve got this one life. Live it well. Live it fully … by doing nothing sometimes. It’s good for you.