Sunday, May 6, 2012

Time to "Do Nothing"

How often do we allow ourselves time to “do nothing”? When do you carve out space in your hurried schedule to sit or walk or reflect or play, without an agenda or an intended outcome? Regular practices of meditation or yoga or journaling – or even naps – are wonderful opportunities for rest, self-care, and self-reflection. In addition to these, I wonder about experiences of spontaneity, the choice to cast aside our routines and tasks lists and follow the whispers for whimsy in our everyday lives. When do you give yourself time – in your own home, in nature, on vacation, in a neighboring city, in the mind and soul of your creative impulse – to follow a random trail of your thoughts, feelings, and impulses and simply see what happens?  How often do you drive right off the map into unchartered territory for no reason whatsoever – except that you feel like it?

For me, I realize I don’t intentionally devote nearly as much time to this spontaneous experiencing as my heart desires. I remember, as a child growing up, how expansive time seemed. It seemed there were endless possibilities for play and adventure, limited only by the sun rising and falling in the sky and the occasional steady rain that drove us indoors.  I remember fondly how we would play detective games in which everything we noticed was another clue revealing itself, moving us a step closer to solving the mystery at hand.

Today, I continue to embrace a sense of mystery, continue to find people and nature and the universe endlessly fascinating.  I cherish those moments during which I allow myself to step out from behind the driver’s seat and to look for “clues” to the questions that excite and haunt me.  I love noticing numbers – and looking up what significance they may have. When an animal or bird catches my attention (e.g. spotting a red fox or a skunk in my yard or seeing Canadian Geese on my drive into work), I enjoy reading about possible symbolism, exploring the idea of animals as messengers along my journey.  Sometimes I embrace the random in even simpler ways, such as setting my ipod to “shuffle” and letting the music lead me where it may.

Nothing enchants me like the promise of entire day without anything planned. When people ask me, “What are your plans for the weekend?” and I respond with “Nothing,” they may notice my smile and the twinkle in my eye.  I love that “nothing” can become anything at all. Instead of accepting societal biases that label down time as unessential or doing “nothing,” I wonder if, instead, the time we devote to “nothing” may actually be the very zest of life.  

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