Self Help Newsletter

The Art of Doing Nothing

In today’s busy and stressful world, it seems like we’re always on the go. We’re constantly running off to work, or some activity, or planning our next vacation to get away from it all! Not to mention, anyone can contact us at anytime thanks to cell phones, BlackBerries, and laptops. Peace and tranquility, it seems, are things of the past!

The other day, after a busy weekend, I realized I still had several things on my to-do list, but I couldn’t figure out exactly which one I wanted to do next. I had this article to write, a teleseminar to listen to, laundry to do, bills to pay, a movie I wanted to watch on tv, etc. In fact, it seemed like there were so many things to do next, that I just couldn’t figure out which one I wanted to do. So I did something unusual: I decided to take some time and do absolutely nothing! That’s right, instead of picking something off my to-do list and diving in, I decided to stop right there and take a few minutes to practice the art of doing nothing.

And I’ll be honest with you, it was really difficult! I told myself I would only do it for five minutes, but that first sixty seconds was extremely uncomfortable. Even though I do yoga regularly and occasionally meditate, I still found it very challenging to just sit there, be with whatever thoughts and feelings arose, and tune into the sensations in my body. I was doing absolutely nothing, but it was hard!

It’s funny, because I always think of myself as someone who knows how to relax. In fact, I usually spend a lot of my weekends not doing much of anything. In actuality, though, I’m always doing something. Whether it’s listening to music, or writing in my pray rain journal, or watching a movie, listening to guided visualizations or teleclasses, playing on Good Vibe University, reading, etc., I’m always involved in some activity. Even though I’m staying at home and doing more relaxing things than lots of activity outside the house, I’m still always doing something.

In total, I only spent about ten minutes doing nothing. Originally I told myself I would do five minutes, but after the first couple minutes it got easier, so I hung in there and did it for ten! I simply watched my thoughts as they arose, felt the feelings that came up, and tuned into the sensations in my body. The key is, I accepted everything as it was and didn’t try to change anything.

I encourage you to try this for yourself in the upcoming week, even if it’s as little as five minutes. I felt recharged and energetic after I did this, but more importantly it also showed me that I need to do this more often. Initially it was so difficult to just stop and do absolutely nothing, that I realized I’ve become too addicted to constant activity and stimulation. It’s hard to get away from the constant activity and stimulation in our society today, but that just makes it even more crucial that we take time out for ourselves regularly and do absolutely nothing. Otherwise we are just distracting ourselves from our deepest thoughts and feelings, and that will ultimately lead to deep unhappiness.

Your innermost self really wants to be heard, seen, and appreciated, and you don’t have to wait for someone on the outside to do these things for you. You can do them for yourself! But you have to be willing to turn off the outside distractions, take a few minutes to tune into yourself, and do absolutely nothing. It’s harder than it looks, but you will be so glad you did!

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