THE ART OF DOING NOTHING

A few months back, while on hour 3 of Pinterest for the day, I came across this meme that said: 

Stop the Glorification of Busy.

It remains one of my favorite reminders, that if you never stop doing stuff, you’ll lose the ability to know how to relax. I clearly remember my corporate days of traveling 70 percent of the time and constantly feeling overwhelmed as I worked from one desk to another, office to office, plane ride to taxi ride, sitting on my bed in random hotel rooms always working while eating dinner yet again on my bed. 

Now I’m a smart person, I noticed I was burning out, burnt out and beyond exhausted. At some point during my efforts to catch the next flight where I couldn’t even remember where I was going exactly (when you’re tired it all blends together), I took stock of my life and really admitted to myself how physically tired and mentally depleted I had become. There was no way that I could maintain the 75+hours per week schedule. This was not sustainable. 

So what does that word mean anyway? Wikipedia defines sustainability as: “Sustainability is the capacity to endure. In ecology the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. For humans, sustainability is the potential for long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions.”

We often talk about sustainability in terms of our relationship to nature, but what about Human Nature? What about us? And what about our relationship to one another, and to the most important primary relationship: the one we are having with ourselves? 

You see, in order for “long-term maintenance of human well being” to take place we need more time spent learning how to relax. The art of doing nothing is the answer to promoting human sustainability. 

To be honest, I had many wake up calls along the way that I ignored. One that still stands out had nothing to do with me… It was a staff person calling me from the Emergency Room in San Jose. They were demonstrating heart attack symptoms, still working on their laptop, while on the gurney, and oh yeah, they were only 25 years old. 

It has not been easy for me to re-learn how to do nothing mostly because I’m so great at doing something all the time. Busy is an easy badge of honor to wear. And even now I admit to being a recovering Triple A Personality that has whittled my way down to just one A. 

Believe me, I know it takes time to settle in and find yourself really grateful with doing less. In those moments, go easy on yourself. Allow yourself space to become more organic, and remove all the separations and decompartmentalizations. We only tense up when we set separation between things, and we relax when we connect with others and the world around us. This human sustainability has clear social and economic dimensions and benefits. And if you look up the word relax in the Thesaurus, it shows up with meanings such as: reduce, unwind, and rest. When used as a verb, the Dictionary says it means 1. Spend time at ease, 2. Make or become less tense, and my favorite, 3. Make or become less intense. 

Please join me and stop the glorification of busy by learning how to relax. 

Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia 

Tips for Real People on The Art of Doing Nothing 
1. Go somehwere with fewer distractions 
2. Wean yourself off technology: 
 Day 1 – All technology day 
 Day 2 – Limit to ½ day 
 Day 3 – Limit to smart phone for two hours, no laptop 
 Day 4 – No devices 
3. Go on a Yoga Retreat where you won’t be busy cooking, cleaning, shopping, working and more space will be available just for you. 
4. Take a half day of silence each month. You’d be surprisd how simple life becomes with less talking. 
5. Meditate or just sit quietly for a few minutes each day 
6. Make To Be Lists instead of To Do Lists 
7. Pay attention to your breath and let that be enough