Photo Picnic Table in Deep Woods by Aron HsiaoWhew! That headline was hard to write. But it’s true. Tomorrow I’m going to practice the art of doing nothing. “Art?” Yep, in a world of constant stimulation and connection, knowing how to do absolutely nothing is most definitely something you practice and eventually master.

The principle first caught my attention while reading Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, and then again reading the Good Vibe blog. At first I thought, “Pfft! That’s easy.” Then I dug deeper and realized “doing nothing” meant no reading, no writing, no gardening. Whoa. “They” really mean nothing.

I’ll admit not writing down my thoughts and observations is going to be hardest of all. My kid will be joining me as well. We’re starting out small – one hour – and after that we’ll practice daily for 15-20 minutes. An interesting exercise in being present that I hope teaches us both something.

Photo credit: Aron Hsiao


2 Comments

Laura Best · November 23, 2011 at 11:49 AM

This sounds interesting. I’ll be interested in reading about how it went. hmmm…no reading or writing… Although I understand the need for many of us to slow down and enjoy life.

    Leah · November 24, 2011 at 8:14 AM

    Laura,

    It was interesting. When we (my daughter and I) talked about the hour afterwards we were most unsure about why we couldn’t track our thoughts. So I’m going to ask one of my clients, a coach practiced in the art of being, why we shouldn’t write. I’m thinking maybe it’s because then you’re actually doing something other than being – to write requires physical action and mental action at same time – but I don’t know.

    I do know I’m already pretty aware of my thoughts and often allow my mind to wander off wherever I may be and then I listen to my mind and its observations. Hopefully that doesn’t sound arrogant; I just know how to tune into what I’m telling myself, which is helpful if you want to temporarily silence one’s Inner Critic, for example.

    A good thing about this exercise though was my daughter realized the thoughts she was telling herself. Being a tween almost teenager I think it’s important for her to “just be” sometimes and reconnect with her inner self. Having said that she is a pretty un-connected kid in terms of electronics, consumerism, social drama, etc. so maybe that’s why sitting or walking around for the hour wasn’t all that profound. (Plus she is a creative and is used to being in her mind on a regular basis.)

    Perhaps those who don’t stop very often – who are constantly going and doing – are the ones who could benefit the most from this exercise. When we’re constantly in “go” mode we don’t have a chance to re-connect with ourselves, check in if you will, and see how we are truly thinking and therefore reacting to external circumstances.

    Anyway, this ran way too long for a comment 😀 but I had to share my analysis (to date) of our exercise. I’m sure as we practice more and more I’ll have additional feedback and questions…probably lots more questions 🙂

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