On December 13, 2018, I posted a blog titled Can we slow things down a bit? In it, I drew a comparison between the digital world in which we currently live versus the analogue world into which I was born. The analogue world I was brought up in gave us time to relish, to ponder, to take it all in before action was required. The digital world of today is continually pushing us forward to make decisions, to quickly take the better fork in the road, to balance multiple offerings without spilling one drop.
This blog from December 2018 prompted me to think about the art of doing nothing. There’s a trending movement now that promotes the idea of slowing things down. Roses are there for us to smell, not just view. These folks who are promoting slowing things down are unknowingly after my heart. However, I’m going to move the needle a bit more to the left and embrace the concept of taking time to do nothing.
Some of the best times I have is when I’m sitting alone in my home office quietly listening and there’s nothing to hear. The sound of nothing is soothing, calming, rejuvenating. Obviously, since my mind is still working as it should, these quiet moments allow thoughts to creep in. Seeds for creative activities are sewn, and I experience some of the best times I could ever have.
I just exited a Zoom call with several folks, who sit on the Little Rock City Government Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission. I, too, am a member of that group. Our premeeting activities meander into a conversation about being busy. A couple of people talked about how they must have daily to-do lists, calendars, pinging notifiers on the smart phones. With all of this going on, they always felt as if they were accomplishing little, but they were always busy. I posed the question: Why do you feel you must always be busy? A guinea pig on a treadmill is busy, but the repetitive circular movement accomplishes little for the good of things on a larger scale.
Some people seem to have a fear about doing nothing. They’re convinced that doing nothing will include them in the ranks of the lazy, the trifling, the uninteresting. They must always project the image of the charged, locked and loaded, ready to do.
There’s a strange irony about doing nothing, and folks like me have figured it out. One can never do nothing. If I’m lying on the sofa, doing nothing, aren’t I communicating to anyone who sees me that I’m lying on the sofa. My body always communicates regardless of the state in which it might be. Lying on the sofa might be the best thing for my body at the time. That instance of doing nothing might give me needed rest, a time to recharge, to think of a solution to an issue that’s been confounding me for a while.
Doing nothing just might be the one of the best stress relievers a body could use sometimes.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.