Slowing down is the opposite of rushing and helps with restoring balance. To experience even more well-being Nothing Doing Time is a major antidote.
In her book The Joy Diet, Martha Beck’s first recommendation for cultivating joy is spending 15 minutes a day in Nothing Doing. Just allowing yourself to be, not doing, accomplishing or planning. Essentially, setting aside time to be mindful and notice what comes up without engaging with it.
Steve Mitten, an award winning master coach, tells a story about a person going to a shaman for help. The shaman would ask variations of 4 questions. The last question was “When was the last time you spent time in stillness?”
Most wisdom traditions recognize the importance of time for contemplation. This does not mean ruminating or navel gazing. It is time to thoughtfully observe what comes up, allowing the mind to both wander and linger.
Rushing around and busy-ness seem to be part of the cultural norm. It has become a habit for many. Not only is it hard to change, it may be a bit scary to spend quiet time alone with one’s self. Having undistracted time alone allows for loneliness and doubt to show up. I’ve noticed this for myself and my clients notice this for themselves too.
Recently, I came across an article which stated “there are no negative emotions, they all must be worked with.” There are negative emotions, and they too must be acknowledged so that you can learn what they are telling you. By constantly being busy and avoiding some of your feelings, you may be cutting yourself off from some important information which can guide you to better outcomes. According to Tal Ben Shahar and others, when you cut yourself off from one type of emotion, you end up blocking the flow of your emotions generally. This distancing yourself from your emotions creates an inner loneliness which is often part of burnout.
Setting aside time for “nothing doing” may sound ridiculous and unfathomable, and yet through the centuries it has been noted as a key to happiness. Perhaps, 15 minutes a day is unreasonable for you currently, however, you can probably manage 3 minutes. Set aside 3 minutes a day for Nothing Doing over the course of time you can increase the length of time. Stick with it long enough, number of days, so you can see what the benefits are for you. Many people use a mental anchor to help them keep a gentle focus. It can be something like your breath, an image, a word or phrase that comforts you i.e. Harmony, Shalom, Love, or one of your 3Ws. Having this kind of anchor provides you with a focal point to return to if you start to concentrating on a “To Do” list, ruminating or just getting caught up in thoughts rather than observing.
Stillness, it doesn’t have to be scary. To get back to appreciating yourself, contact me.
Revitalize Your Life,
Dina, 203.744.YOU3 (9683), Well-Being Coach
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