Sunday, December 9, 2018

Doing Nothing? Can you?

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.  
                                         from: Spirituality and Health magazine.

Barry and Glenda Beall on top of Chimney Rock North Carolina

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?


Elephant's Child said...

I can appear to do nothing, but my mind is often going gang-busters. I have my best chance at renewal if I simply sit and admire a dawn, a sunset, the garden. And still that pesky mind reminds me of things which demand my attention.

Glenda Beall said...

My Friend, Bill R. sent me this email:

Glenda, We are always doing something. It is, therefore, not possible to do nothing. One faulty measure is to equate physical movement with “doing something.” When I stop in mid-task to watch the crows feed, I am doing something very important. The time management expert you quote, Craig Jarrow, could make us feel guilty needlessly if we take him to mean every moment must be demonstrably productive.

Now get busy doing nothing, Bill

Glenda Beall said...

An Email from Anne:
Good morning, Glenda. I enjoyed reading this meditation on time. If I had your talent, I could have written such a piece, especially your former mood description.
Thank you for sending.

Glenda Beall said...

Thanks, Bill and Anne, for your comments. Seems we writers are always busy even if it is in our head, thinking and imaging what we want to write next.

Glenda Beall said...

EC, I, too, can sit for a little while and watch a sunset over Lake Chatuge and see the shadows change over Brasstown Bald which is covered in snow right now. I think that is the artist in me. I used to be a painter.

I get really antsy if I have to sit in a restaurant alone and wait for my meal. I try to have a pad and pen with me so I can at least make a to do list.

Thanks for stopping in.

Tipper said...

Loved this post! It's hard for me to do nothing too, but when I can force myself to it truly rejuvenates me : ) Your porch is a beautiful place to do nothing-Barry was a smart man.

Glenda Beall said...

Thanks, Tipper. I know it is hard for you to do nothing. You are one very busy young woman. I saw one of your beautiful girls today. I can't tell the twins apart, but they are both beautiful. Yes, Barry was a smart man. He knew how to live life without worrying.