How To Do Nothing
I was sitting outside yesterday, enjoying what is shaping up to be one our last warm days of the season. Watching the trees shiver from a slight wind then bend wildly from a large gust, allowing a giggle or two to bubble up when a leaf fell on my head, imagining the possibilities of figures emerging from each drifting cloud.
I knew the peace I was feeling was evident on my face, so I took a few photos to be able to reflect on that feeling.
Not too long after this, my son walked up to me and started, "Mom, since you aren't doing anything...."
Not doing anything?
I said I was indeed doing something, but that I'd listen to what he needed to ask.
Just a few minutes later, my husband, who had heard what my son had asked, came up and asked, "So what are you doing?" When I just stared at him, unsure how to answer, he said, "Huh. Taking pictures of yourself. Ok."
I just looked back up at the sky.
How many times during a normal day do we look like we are doing something when we are actually doing nothing...
and how many times do we look like we are doing nothing when "something" can't even begin to describe what is going on?
And how many times do we strive to do "something"...when that very striving takes us away from a being that would benefit us far more?
There is so much mystery and possibility in the silence behind the try.
Do not mistake me - I am not advocating we all sit around and watch the clouds float past. (Though many of us could find our lives drastically improved if we did just that.) "Being" does not require inactivity.
I do feel we could all benefit from a broadening of perspective as to what "doing something" means....and from a reflection upon the purpose of the doing. We can all chatter away in a conversation, but without meaning behind the words, all we are doing is adding noise.
Likewise, we can all work day in and day out, finding ourselves quite productive. And yet, without meaning behind the work, all we are doing is "something"...and, perhaps quite disturbingly, unintentionally avoiding the beauty that comes from doing "nothing".
Today, I invite us both to focus our attention on the wind. The clouds. Our breath. Go about your emails and reports and meal preparations.
But do not try to do anything.