I am sooooooooooooo tired of rushing around. Of going from one activity to the next as if I’m being graded for the number of things I accomplish in a day. The constant motion doesn’t leave time to even think. I often feel overwhelmed but better after my senses get a little rest. It seems like every day they’re bombarded — assaulted, really — with too much to see, too much to hear, and too many things to do.
This quote, written by a teenager, inspired today’s blog post. “It seems to me that people are afraid of deep thought. When we’re not talking with someone, on goes the TV, or the music, or maybe we call a friend or pick up something to read. How often do we sit and do nothing but think? Often it’s when we are doing nothing that we learn something important about ourselves.” I was there 20 years ago when my son made this speech to his fellow graduating seniors, and it’s a document I cherish to this day. To think that an 18-year-old even has these thoughts blew me away, but I shouldn’t be surprised; his name is, after all, Wise-man. Not surprisingly, “Doing Nothing” was my son’s answer to the question “What’s your favorite comfort in life?”. My observations about this important comfort are included in my book, A Patchwork of Comforts: Small Pleasures for Peace of Mind.
The word “busy” has slowly become one of my pet peeves. As a culture we generally demand visible proof of time well spent, and it keeps us all cramming as much as we can into the day. When you’re raised with busyness as the norm, being still might seem just plain silly. Not really. Resting your senses gives your brain a break, allowing the dust to settle. Cells regroup, mending perspective and getting ready for the next onslaught of data to sort through. Clearing out that mess gives your brain a chance to retrieve all those creative thoughts that are being smothered by mental clutter. My best decisions and new ideas have always come when I felt rested and calm. Frequently when I’m soaking in the tub before bed.
“Are you nuts?” you say. “When would I ever have time to do nothing? Besides, why should I?” Well, good health pretty much depends on a life with less stress in it. Think of Doing Nothing as your personal DIY stress therapy. It helps to try and change your perspective about idle time. Thinking IS an activity in itself, so doing nothing turns out to be doing something. Yes?
Tending your brain is vital because brainwork — the invisible activity — is the very best thing you can do. Where would we be without the thinkers… to invent, create, and inspire? We’d be freezing our hinnies in the outhouse at night, throwing spears at woolly mammoths, and using one-millionth of our brains.
Do you consider thinking important?