I am always going somewhere, doing something. There is always a reason. Commuting to work, running after a fitness goal, working on a course to further my career.
Always trying to achieve something.
I suffer from over thinking, I’m an anxious soul in a frantic world always on the go. Gradually my anxiety wore me down into depression and this year I finally gave in and admitted that the modern world of mobile phones, streams of data and a more more more work culture just doesn’t work for me.
So for the past few months I’ve not tried to cope anymore by trying to think my way out of my anxiety; I’ve cultivated the art of doing nothing. The secret is not trying to do nothing. The moment you try is the moment you’re thinking about it again.
I got the inspiration for doing nothing in the new year when I jumped on the mindfulness bandwagon. But here’s the thing, mindfulness really works. And it isn’t about sitting in the meditation position with whale music and insense (though by all means if that floats your boat).
Think about it, when was the last time you took 5 minutes to do nothing? I know I never did, even on the toilet I’d be flicking through Twitter.
Now on the way to work I take to the park to just sit and observe. Not to think about how I’m going to handle meetings, not to feel how depressing another 8 hours will be in front of a screen but to just… be.
This morning an elderly lady passed by and stopped to chat. Yes she talked about the weather (small talk for introverts = ugh) but she also remarked that “you don’t often see anyone sat here”, the green space was more a cut through for people on their way to do stuff while looking busy.
Then as I sat there I noticed two squirrels come scurrying down the tree so they could gleefully skip across the grass to the next. I saw 3 butterflies dancing the the air, no doubt having a lovers tiff but nevertheless to my eyes it looked beautiful. And there was I, sat with them not doing anything in particular.
My entire life I’ve always been the awkward introvert; I am still uncomfortable just sitting there alone without anything to do. It still doesn’t feel natural, I still feel like I should be doing something productive. I can still feel the eyes of the passers by thinking I am some sort of weirdo just sat there when I should be at work, or shopping, or something.
But as I learn to do nothing, that is to live in the moment, I feel these anxieties melt away and thats when the small yellow flowers dotted around the green come into focus. That’s when I feel the mild warmth creep through the lush green leaves, the first of which I notice have begun to fall.
I guess what I have found is that there is beauty in the moment. I don’t have to be doing anything or going anywhere. I don’t have to have a purpose.
I do nothing.
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