The thing about doing nothing...
Here's a little something I wrote for The IS Collection this month...
In my house, presented proudly amongst candles and a vase of flowers, is “The Art of Doing Nothing,” a book by Veronique Vienne. Despite being an amazing resource, this book became a decorative accessory describing ways to relax and recharge I had yet to sample. I loved having it on display, even though I hadn’t picked it up or read it for years, because simply walking past it on a daily basis made me feel like one day, preferably in this lifetime, I might just get around to learning about doing nothing. Finally, I did..
I took my always going, working, doing-something-self to boon hotel + spa, with hopes of not only celebrating travel, but practicing shifting gears, changing scenery, slowing down … and with some luck, learning a bit about nothing.
It worked; I’ve come back from my trip not only renewed, but eager to post myself on my soapbox and make a strong claim … doing nothing is quite something.
I’ve concluded though, after some soul searching and practice, that doing nothing, in our modern go-do-accomplish-succeed society, has found itself in a bit of an unfortunate predicament. Often attached to self-disapproving descriptions like “lazy” yet sometimes swooned over as a privilege after accomplishing, working, completing, and doing enough, doing nothing has become both a fear and a fantasy.
Afraid to do too little and afraid to do too much, our relationship with doing nothing could use some work. From where I’m sitting, it seems it’s time we not only begin to see value in our nothings, but appreciate them in every shape and form. From travel to a bath, a book that has nothing to do with anything to a TV show just because, the thing about doing nothing is that it’s not nothing at all … it’s something big and amazing and important and nourishing and necessary. Doing nothing is a gift, if we’re willing to receive it.
Nothing is the way our body-mind-spirit-soul prepares for all of our other something’s. Nothing serves and feeds us--in all we do. Nothing is how we heal, how we cleanse, how we shift. Nothing is the before, the middle, and the after. Nothing is everything. Doing nothing is an art.
It’s time we give our nothings their luster back, restore their shine, and award them the credit they deserve. Be curious about your nothing. What does it look like and feel like? How have you described it, judged it, put it down? Can you describe your nothing differently? Can you commend it, praise it, and be proud of it … even on a Tuesday?
Nothings are not only for vacations, or Sundays. Nothings are gifts to give ourselves whenever, wherever, however we choose. Don’t judge, don’t fantasize, just schedule a little something of nothing … and practice.
Practice breathing, practice stretching, practice laughing and reading and watching and sleeping. Practice. Ask your human-doing self to step aside. Invite your human-being self in. Practice being. Practice nothing.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in your bed, in a coffee shop, on your couch, or at boon hotel … your nothing is for you to decide. Notice your breath, appreciate yourself, give your mind permission to rest. Be reminded that you do enough. You do a lot of enough.
There is in fact an art to doing nothing, and it's time we appreciate its value … because there’s just something about nothing.