Last Sunday, I sat for awhile with my cats and gazed out at the view from my bedroom window.
The street that I live on is lush with green leaves on the limbs of majestically old trees that line both sides of the road. It is a beautiful view.
I mentioned this groovy, restful Sunday experience to someone who, in response, could not understand how a person could sit around and “do nothing.”
I was rather taken aback by the comeback since it is my belief that oftentimes “doing nothing” IS “doing something.”
It is not in my nature to be a “rush rush rush” and “do do do” kind of gal. Of course I DO like to do many things! But inbetween the doing, I have to have a balanced amount of “being.”
When I was younger, I was horribly conflicted about that arbitrary menace called “time.”
“Time” still often heckles me with the “you should be doing this, that or the other thing” tape. But I’m getting better at flipping the off-switch when that is the appropriate thing to “do.”
What each individual does with his or her time is a personal choice. What is “doing nothing” to one can be “doing something” to another.
And it’s also a matter of being ‘conscious’ of the choices one makes.
There have been times in my life when I have chosen to do something that I didn’t really want to do but did it anyway because I felt that I “should” do it.
For instance, some of those invitations to supposedly “obligatory” family, friend or otherwise get-togethers have more or less screamed at me, “DON’T GO! YOU WON’T ENJOY!!!”
But then the PJ-People-Pleaser would kick in and diabolically whisper, “But you ‘should’ go…heh heh…you might miss something. And besides, you won’t get a “Gold Star” if you don’t go.”
And then I would give-in and go and be miserable because I was “doing” something that was not really MY first choice.
And ya know, sitting at a party not having a good time kinda counts as “doing nothing” in my book.
On the other hand, if I CHOOSE to do a “nothing” that I really enjoy, well, in a sense that I am doing “something” good for me.
As many people know, I love my three amazing wonder-cats. And for me, it is often a most blissful luxury to just “be” with them — to provide a lap and simply enjoy them.
It is a very restful thing to do.
(And they certainly have no qualms about me doing nothing with them!)
And on the other hand, if I am feeling restless or antsy, I can throw on my shoes and go out and do “something.”
And maybe that “something” might be simply to sit on a park bench, watch ducks and…do nothing!
I have always enjoyed the TV sit-com “Seinfeld” which has been described as “a show about nothing.”
The four main characters — Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer — eat at the diner and talk and agonize about silly situations that really, when you look at the Big Picture, are kinda “full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”
And all of our lives are pretty much filled-up daily with the same kinds of ordinary “nothings.” We wash dishes, “do” laundry, walk the dog, clean the cat box, brush our teeth.
We don’t have to let other people or society or the majority or the mother-in-law decide what our “somethings” or “nothings” are. We are the only ones who can decide that for ourselves.
“Doing nothing” in a way which promotes peace of mind and contentment is a good thing.
My cats and my windows and the trees are excellent channels for nothingness for me.
The “movers and shakers” amongst us can “do” all the things they want to — it’s their choice.
And, in the end, it all comes down to “nothing” for all of us anyway….
©June 2011 by Phyllis J. Hanniver