Sometimes doing nothing is necessary.
Clearing your schedule for the day. Sitting by the ocean and listening to the waves. Looking up at the stars. Going on a walk alone, without your phone. Meditation. Yoga. Sitting in silence in your bedroom. Breathing. Listening. Absorbing.
When was the last time you did nothing? Nothing, in the sense of actively making time for yourself without a scheduled activity, without constantly checking your email or texts, without letting yourself be distracted by everything you ‘should’ be doing or the next item on your to-do list?
When was the last time you focused without being distracted with twenty other things? Without letting your mind wander to what’s coming next, or what you might be missing out on? Without checking social media, updating a status, posting a photo for your followers to see?
When was the last time you just existed, rather than thinking about how you should or shouldn’t live?
The art of doing nothing—this is something I’ve been striving to grasp lately. Since I moved to California, I’ve learned to slow down. I’ve learned to abandon my crazy Midwest roots from time to time and just let life happen, rather than try to plan or control it. I’ve learned to let things go to bring myself peace. I’ve learned to be patient.
But I’m still working on doing nothing, on the intentional quietness of my mind, on finding balance between a busy world and a soul that simply absorbs.
Doing nothing, honestly, is an art. We have to abandon the typical go-go-go mentality of our daily lives and learn to be content with where we are. We have to stop rushing from one thing to the next and take time to just be. We have to turn off our cell phones, silence our notifications, minimize our distractions so we aren’t constantly plagued with what everyone else is thinking, feeling, doing, in any given moment.
In a world that’s so comfortable with the fast-pace, with grabbing all that we can, with getting the next thing, and the next after that, doing nothing feels like being still. It feels like being stagnant.
It feels like we’re going to miss out on something, like we’re not going to be as far along as our competition if we stop, even for a second.
But truthfully, it’s the opposite.
Doing nothing allows your mind to clear and refocus. It allows your busy spirit to rest, to rejuvenate. It welcomes and allows creativity to flow. It gives you space for reflection on all that you’ve accomplished, and grants you a much-needed break before kick-starting the motivation again.
Doing nothing is never that simple, never actually staring at the wall with a blank mind, but it’s the act of being intentionally focused on peace rather than rush that strengthens you.
The time you set aside to simply slow down, to be present, to live without focusing on what’s coming next—that’s what sets you free. And also what inspires you to move forward.
And then begin.