Do you like to sleep in, and have breakfast in bed? Are you a night owl? Or are you like me, an early riser?
I love getting up in darkness, when the world is still asleep and all is quiet. It’s a magical moment I can only share with myself.
There’s nothing I have to do. There’s no one to take care of. All that is required is to be in the moment and enjoy its stillness.
The only thing that can possibly make it better is the sound of a purring cat on my lap.
What I unknowingly have discovered is the forgotten art of doing nothing. A guiltless pleasure that has to be experienced to be appreciated.
Could this moment of bliss be what people strive for when they do their mindful meditation, you wonder? Well, they may call it mindful, but in my case it’s completely mindless.
Early in the morning I do nothing and I think of nothing.
I try to be out of my mind.
Oddly enough, this emptying of the mind and freeing of the body is the most fulfilling time of the day.
It’s where my energy and inspiration comes from. Even the words I’m writing down now, are flowing from that early morning silence.
It’s the only time of day without distractions and obligations. There are no musts or have-to’s.
What I’m describing to you seems to be no big deal. Sit, breathe, and be quiet. Yet, for many, it’s one of the most challenging things to do, because it’s about not doing anything at all, and being okay with that.
RUNNING THE RAT RACE
We’ve been programmed to always run around like crazy getting things done. Taking a break is for lazy people. Even when we sit down, we feel the urge to check our screens -big or small- to see what we might have missed.
Once we get going, it’s hard to put the world on pause. But doing nothing can be the most productive moment of the day.
That’s why I get up early, and savor the silence. It’s my favorite time.
At that time I become a human being. Not a human doing.
When I wrote about my routine earlier, some people said:
“I don’t know how you do it. Where do you find the time? I feel guilty doing nothing.”
To tackle the last thing first, the only thing you are guilty of when you “meditate” is self care. The only thing you may accuse yourself of is the prevention of burn-out.
Where do you find the time?
By prioritizing the things that are essential for your well-being, and the well-being of those around you. If YOU feel better, your relationships will be better. If your relationships are better, your life will be better.
We waste so much time on things that don’t matter like endlessly scrolling our Instagram and Facebook feeds. We watch television shows that add nothing to our life but distraction. If it’s okay to engage in these mind-numbing activities, it should be okay to sit still for twenty minutes and do nothing, don’t you think?
And finally, how do you do it?
By setting clear boundaries. If you don’t claim your time, someone else will. So, assert yourself. Don’t expect others to understand you. They just need to respect you.
Secondly, create an environment that allows you to be comfortable and quiet. Find a spot you can return to every day. If you don’t create the right conditions, your life will fill up with clutter in your mind and in your home.
YOU WILL BE TESTED
One word of warning. The moment you set your boundaries, they will be tested by those around you. Just as you are establishing a new habit, your environment has to do that as well. Give them time. Give yourself time. It’s an investment well worth making.
Best of all, you don’t need to buy expensive exercise equipment, sign up for wellness programs, or pay for meditation apps you’ll never use.
All you have to do is shut up and sit still for a while, being very busy doing absolutely nothing.