Relax! It’s Saturday morning, it’s cold and surprise: IT’S SNOWING…
To mind, comes a Facebook share: ‘Who is praying for snow, please stop!’
One would think, on a day like this, and on the weekend, it would be easy to just… do nothing!
What does “nothing” mean? What is the definition of doing nothing?
On a more thorough analysis, doing nothing means different things for different people.
Does taking a nap at 2:00 PM qualify as doing nothing? May be for people who live by the rules of some countries (such as the USA and most European countries.)
But how about the Spanish. “siesta?”
Several years ago, we visited Spain and at 2:00 PM we were inside a store, actually shopping, not just looking. Why do I stress: shopping? Because it meant we were about to bring our small contribution to the prosperity of that specific store. Yet, when the clock stroke 2:00 PM, all shoppers had to leave the store. It was time for”siesta!” On a superficial level, taking a nap may look like doing nothing, but reality is, resting requires discipline and awareness of the importance of resting our minds and bodies with the goal of functioning better in our awake states. What may look on the surface as doing nothing is, in fact, a much needed activity:
Resting and bringing clarity to our thoughts.
Much has been said about relaxation, which requires a “letting go” of our thoughts, of worries and to empty our minds,or focusing on a “mantra,” on one word and repeating it in our minds, over and over again.
Easy, one might say. But is it, for someone who has been programmed to always do something which brings visible results.
What might happen in the mind of a person whose definition of being successful is “doing?” When, while we practice relaxation, or try to nap, according to our education, the way we have been “programmed,” these activities look like doing nothing, as the results are not immediately visible? I don’t know about your minds, but I could share what happened in my mind for a long time, until I re-programmed it and learned a new skill:
The art of doing nothing!
At first, my mind jumped from one worry to another! Are my daughters okay, thousands of miles away? Was a a good Mom? or… Was the door locked? Did I take my vitamins? Was my doctor appointment tomorrow… hmm why didn’t they call to confirm… now I’ll be charged $30 for missing it! On, and on and on… the roller coaster of thoughts while trying to”doing nothing!” Then the guilt: I wasn’t even good enough at doing nothing! How pathetic!
We have been conditioned that “doing” is what results in success, and furthermore, “doing nothing,” not only has no value, but feels strange… as if we do something which is against rules… and, let’s tell it as it is, sends us on guilt trips! Or is it just me? It took practice to unlearn and feel and accept at an unconscious level what I knew in my conscious mind:
The importance of sleep and relaxation for the overall good functioning of the mind and body.
In conclusion, because we have been programmed that the so called “doing nothing” is not necessary, it is many time considered “lazy,” even if in the 21st Century we know how positive and important sleep and relaxation are, it will take time to learn this new skill. The skill of doing nothing, so we function at our best!