In the busiest time of the year, how often do we set aside time to do nothing? We need to set aside time to work and time to play, but also time to just do nothing.
Those around you may not approve of or understand your short bursts of enjoyable-yet-restorative-sloth. They may mistakenly think you have time to spare and try to elbow in on this time. Hi-ya! you will say. “This is my time." After all, as time management expert Craig Jarrow writes, “Your time is your most valuable resource. You cannot get more time. Don’t let others waste or steal it.” Your precious time to do nothing is when you are refilling your cup so that you can be there for other people in just a little while. It’s not only okay but necessary to hit the pause button.
One of the things I most admired about my late husband, Barry, was his ability to sit on our deck, high amidst the tree tops, the wild birds and to do nothing. I often asked how he could do this. If I sat with him, I had to be talking, reading, writing or making my to-do lists.
He had no answer except he enjoyed it. My father often sat early in the morning and just stared into space. He said he was planning his day or thinking about what he needed to do. I'm not sure that was "doing nothing." He seemed to be working. I have no idea what Barry thought about while he sat on the deck, but I imagine he reflected on how happy he was and how grateful he was to be where he was and to have had the life he did.
One day, after he was diagnosed with cancer and while he was still at home, Barry asked me, "Don't you think we have had a good marriage? We have been happy, haven't we?"
I think he was asking me if I had been happy for the forty-four years we had been married. I thought he knew, but I have always been moody and had my ups and downs. I am a worrier and "borrowed trouble" as my mother used to say. I can go from being exhilarated to being low as a toad. My family has always known that about me.
Strangely enough, I am more balanced now with my emotions. Perhaps it is age, but who knows? Maybe it was other things including my environment, where I lived and who was in my circle of friends and family. I still find it hard to do nothing although I think it is very important. I find my mind going to the past, to missing those I love, and to worrying about the future. I can take a nap, read, or fish but doing nothing at all - well, time is so precious, and I have so much I want to do!
So, I try to meditate or just "do nothing" but it is not easy. How about you, my dear readers? Can you do nothing, hit the pause button, refill your cup so you can be there for others?