The Importance of Doing Nothing

19 05 2013

I’ve been told that I do nothing better than anyone else. I usually have a very full schedule. My lunches and evenings are filled with need-to-do-this or need-to-meet-them. I’ve lots of interests outside of my day job and I’m admittedly, very social. I never turn down a meal or a glass of wine with friends. My brain is always whirling and my sweetie has come to dread the phrase…”I’ve been thinking” because it usually involves some task for him.

doing nothing

But I also know that I need quiet time to counter that. The quiet meditative time, when I still the monkey mind chatter. I also know that my sweetie and I need quiet time together. As a couple, we need time to just be.

I’ve written about my friend’s camp before.  That special Zen oasis she calls the Flying Alligator, less than an hour from my home.  It’s perched on a quiet bluff overlooking a mighty river. The Atchafalaya River is one of the deepest rivers in the world and from her pier; I can sit and watch it’s fast moving current flow by for hours. It’s too fast for waterskiers or even fishermen, so only occasionally does a boat go by. You don’t see other homes or people from that pier. You can only see the mighty ancient trees that line it’s banks. It’s a real connection to the past as we quietly sit and listen to the sounds of nature surrounding us.

This is how this spot has looked for eons. We watch the eagles and the hawks and the rosy-headed spoonbills soaring high in the sky, as well as the tiny chickadee hopping on the branch that shades the pier. We’re in the middle of the Atchafalaya Basin  which is the largest swamp in the country and it still feels primal. I’ve seen migratory geese flying over so high in the sky they looked like hundreds of shimmering ribbons that undulated with wind currents; those ribbons appearing and disappearing depending on the wings catching the glow of the sun on their journey.

We watch the frogs and the lizards and the snakes and see the occasional fish jump out of the river.  We see a bird dive into the water to catch its dinner. I feel connected to the world as I watch how nature has been since the beginning of time.

I’m still connected to technology and it feels appropriate that I see the words of the Dalia Lama being posted by friends.  He’s only a short ways away—as the bird flies—in New Orleans, his first visit to my favorite city. (I hope he eats well while he’s there). I read Tamyra Bourgeois post about his Holiness, “the recipe for happiness is pretty simple, sleep well, eat well, meditate and connect with people who value your opinion.”

I know I’m where I’m meant to be in this moment of time. Feeling connected to the larger world. Sitting in happy silence with my love, occasionally touching hands and yes, a glass of wine in the other hand.

Part of my doing nothing is reading the book “My Stroke of Insight” from a powerful TED talk. This neuroscientist talks of recovering from a stroke and how important sleep and quiet and the kindness of others were to her healing and recovery. Her words and the Dalai Lama’s, being content and happy in the presence of love and being connected to nature, have all resonated with me this weekend.

I’ve come to believe that I’m meant to help people connect to their creativity. I’m still working on exactly how to get that message out. But maybe it’s by showing someone how to do nothing—something I’m very good at. It sure has connected me to the glorious, creative world today.

If you like My Creative Journey, I’d love for you to follow me. My posts will then arrive in your email and I promise no spam.

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26 responses

19 05 2013
Lisa Garon Froman

Really pretty post Connie.

19 05 2013
conniemcleod

Thanks Lisa, it’s been a pretty perfect weekend!

19 05 2013
janieemaus

I was just thinking about writing on this topic myself. In fact, sometimes I look forward to feeling a bit under the weather, because it’s the only time I slow down.

19 05 2013
conniemcleod

If I don’t schedule my quite time, I have a crash and burn day. I try to listen to my body before that happens.

19 05 2013
felice

Me too – i love a rainy day – a day when my car doesn’t work and i just have to stay “in”.

19 05 2013
conniemcleod

I especially love a rainy day when I wake up and don’t have to go to work!!

19 05 2013
b+

I could feel your river and hear the flight of the birds. Thank you for a quiet reminder.

A fellow GENFAB blogger,

Barbara Torris

19 05 2013
conniemcleod

I’m so glad you could feel it, Barbara. It is a beautiful place.

19 05 2013
beverlydiehl

Sometimes the times of doing nothing are the most creative of all. Letting the well fill. Love the word picture you painted of your river.

19 05 2013
conniemcleod

Beverly, you’re correct! We must have down time to nurture our creativity. Thanks for your comment.

20 05 2013
Sandy Weiner

Connie,
What a beautiful article on slowing down and recharging batteries by scheduling in quiet and reflective time. I did that yesterday, resisting the urge to write another blog, work on my book, or write an email to a client. When I take a hike with my 22 year old son, he makes me slow down and notice the caterpillars, the ferns, the leaves overhead. Otherwise, I might just breeze by the beauty of nature.

20 05 2013
conniemcleod

Thanks Sandy, What was also interesting is that this post poured out of me on the drive home. Like Beverly said in a previous comment, I let the well fill and then my creative spirit poured out.

20 05 2013
Randy Mills

Please add me to your blog. Thanks RM

20 05 2013
conniemcleod

Randy, I’m honored you want to follow my blog. You need to click the follow button. If you’re on a computer it’s to the right of the post and it’s at the top of the post if you’re on an iphone. It will ask you for your email which you will need to enter. Then an email will appear in you inbox that you can open and click saying you want to follow me. It’s really very simple. I generally post once a week. Thanks again, Connie

27 05 2013
Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain's Wife

I never do nothing. My hubs is always telling me to take some time to relax and it’s hard for me to do that.

27 05 2013
conniemcleod

It’s easy for me to do nothing, I could give lessons, LOL.

17 06 2013
Believer

Great post! I enjoyed reading it and you are so right, once in a while, we just have to do NOTHING.

17 06 2013
conniemcleod

Thanks! I’m commenting from work, I’d like to be sitting on that pier right now!

17 06 2013
fashionovafifty

I try to reserve time each day to “do nothing”. I need that time every day to contemplate or just take a breath from all the craziness in the world. I’ve gotten quite good at it too! Lots of my friends would feel guilty about doing it; I revel in it!

Glad to see someone else “doing nothing”! It does a body (and brain) good.

17 06 2013
conniemcleod

I’m not naturally a morning person. But I love when I wake very early and just sit with my cup of coffee and listen the the world wake up. We should start a “do nothing” movement!

17 06 2013
Ginger Kay

I think this is why I prefer busy vacations. I have a very low-key everyday life, with plenty of time to be quiet and still. (And I love it that way!)

17 06 2013
conniemcleod

Ginger, when I travel I’m generally on the go, busy to see and do everything. And then there’s the beach, where I can watch the waves all day long.

18 06 2013
amomawifeandme

Great piece, Connie! Sometimes it’s important to just “be.” Please add me to you blog subscription. Thanks!

18 06 2013
amomawifeandme

Whoops! That comment went under the wrong blog…Sorry about that. I really enjoyed reading your blog! Sometimes it’s important to just “be.” Thanks!

20 06 2013
conniemcleod

Thanks for both comments!! Glad you like doing nothing too!

3 02 2014
What Gives You Joy | Connie McLeod

[…] •  Reading in a hammock […]

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