The storm seems to be over; puddles are now a pool for the birds. The sun is shinning again, petrichor is still around. The courtyard lushness enhances the view from the kitchen. Inspiration is definitely here and so is my cup of tea.
A while ago I was talking to one of my students and she said something that piqued my curiosity. We were chatting about plans for the weekend when she told me that Sunday was her “nothing to do time”. What? Nothing? How come? I was shocked but at the same time eager to figure out how to teach myself how to do nothing without feeling guilty about it. I am always on the go, keeping myself as busy as possible, having never ending “to do” lists. In other words, I find it difficult to just sit down and do absolutely nothing. When I am not doing “this” I am doing “that”. If I manage to sit down, it is just to think what to do next. Do I really need to be busy all the time? Does it make sense to be always doing something without a break? Do I really need to push myself that far? Her words stuck in my mind.
We are always running, trying to get thinks done, just because this is the way we were brought up. We are always far too busy, aiming to finish all our chores, just because we think this is how life is supposed to be. We are always worried we will not have enough time for all our tasks, just because we are constantly reminded of the importance of accomplishments. We are always overloading ourselves with meaningless responsibilities, just because the focus remains on what it has been achieved. We are always thinking tomorrow will be too late, just because postponing is not the right thing to do. We are often forgetting that booking some downtime is vital. We are often ignoring that rest is essential. We are often overlooking the need of doing nothing. The power of guilt is so strong. The power of shame is so cruel. The power of failure is so devastating. But in fact, we should not feel guilty for having nothing to do. We should not be ashamed of not being busy. We should not feel like failing for not getting things done. It is simply ok not to be doing anything.
Nothingness should be part of our daily or weekly routines. Since doing nothing is not a crime. I can assure it is a good way of looking after ourselves indeed. Downtime is not being lazy, it is not procrastinating, it is not slackness. There is not anything wrong with making sure, we have time to do nothing. We should not be judging our need for downtime, accusing ourselves of not being disciplined enough or even worse, stigmatising our behaviour as inadequate. I so often run myself down for wasting time by doing nothing. I so often tell myself off for not being productive. I so often look down on myself for not making much progress. Every now and again, I even find myself getting annoyed for just pottering around and letting my mind wander. One day, I will be able to enjoy my downtimes without guilt. One day, I will be capable of doing nothing and feeling great. One day, I will be ready to just chill out and appreciate the peace of mind by doing nothing.
The storm is back, puddles are now a pool of circles. The sun is hiding behind those dark clouds, raindrops falling symphony. The courtyard is soaked, raindrops draw a lavish picture. My cup of tea is finished but the candle is now burning. Inspiration is still here.
Downtime, still struggling with it. I do have a long journey ahead, but I am making some progress though. The other day, my partner said to me that he was going to lay down and rest, he looked at me and added “I guess you will keep buzzing around as you always do”. He was wrong, I joined him, laid down and did nothing but rest. I did not feel guilty afterwards. Improving!
Downtime, time to do nothing at all! No guilt, no shame, no failure.
Jay Cee Moon ©