Musing on: Doing nothing

Posted by Theresa Nguyen on

the power of doing nothing

Image from a favorite illustration set on what love is.

I'm unapologetic about my inactivity - that's a first. I've been unintentionally studying the tension between how guilt and productivity play in my life.

I don't know about you, but I feel guilt when I'm not working towards something. It's like we've been taught to believe that action is everything. Have an active social life. Keep your house clean. Eat information like it's a daily meal. Be the best version of yourself. That's a lot of pressure.

In the Artist's Way, there was a week dedicated to reading deprivation. No phone, no Instagram, no fictional novels. I put myself on a strict diet of only work readings. By the second day, my partner irritably asked me to stop overcompensating by talking his ear off. After a few rounds of flaring my nostrils, the slow ticking of the clock started to feel natural. I re-arranged the bursting pantry. I leisurely facetimed my cousin in England. I watched my kids do kid stuff. 

The purpose of reading deprivation was to get comfortable with doing nothing. And that by letting myself be bored, I'd open myself up to new experiences.

TBH, I don't remember most of what I did that week. BUT - I do remember the feeling of calm and peacefulness that eventually permeated. 

Sometimes, there's a lesson in boredom if you let it come. What if it was the right thing to do to be bored and not use it as a productivity hack? What if puttering around the evenings and being idle was a valuable way to spend time?

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