Five Reasons Why Doing Nothing May Be The Best Thing You’ll Ever  {Not} Do

Five Reasons Why Doing Nothing May Be The Best Thing You’ll Ever {Not} Do

Last year, I did an occasional blog series on creativity called Spark Moms. I’m adding some new posts this spring, including today’s musing about one of the most powerful ways we can boost our creativity — by making sure we make time to do … nothing. If you’re new to the blog, and want to catch up on my other posts in this series, you’ll find the series indexed at the bottom of this post.

I recall this morning in the blissful early days of June last summer. I’d just grabbed my coffee mug, journal, and Bible and headed out to our deck, before the kids woke. It was summer, and the long days {late bedtimes} were keeping my trio of kiddos snoozing until at least 8 a.m. I had been sleeping in a bit myself and still getting that coveted block of morning quiet. Sometimes, if I were really lucky, I’d sneak in a little extra reading, or even some writing.

This particular morning, I was primed to get going and get stuff done. {Oh, how I love to get things done.} There’s nothing like checking things off the list.

Sign up for VBS – check!
Catch up on emails – check!
Clean out craft table—check!

And, cue: Sigh of deep satisfaction.

This is not going to happen this morning.
This is not a productivity tale, nor is it a woe-filled tale of an early rising child.
It’s a tale of nothing.

***

I got ready to open my Bible, but felt an overwhelming sense that I should do nothing:
Sit still. Observe. Breathe in. Breathe out.

God, really? I asked. You don’t want me to read my Bible and pray?

I was a bit mystified, but knew I hadn’t heard wrong.

I was rewarded richly. I witnessed a squirrel game of hide-and-seek. I saw robins and blue jays and cardinals. I heard birdsong and the high creek rushing behind the safe confines of the chain-link fence at the far edge of our yard. I smelled that fresh green smell of crushed lawn and faint flowers. I felt the slow, steady climb and fall of my own soft breath.

I experienced the unique pleasure of exhaling. I realized that while we seem to know we need more breaks from constant connection and online time, most of us have yet to realize that even talking to a friend or reading a book are still forms on inhaling, taking in more stimuli.

Doing nothing is the only way we have to process all we take in. It’s the only way to exhale out what we don’t need, so we can inhale the fresh, clean oxygen we so desperately need to breathe.

Doing nothing actually does five vital things for us:

1. Helps us hear God more clearly. So often, I am busy with my own quiet time agenda – prayer list, passage of the day, scripture memorization — that I drown God out. Doing nothing stops me from talking over top of God.

2. Allows us to tune into our intuition. You know that quiet voice that could tell you a thing or two? That if you let it speak would urge you not to reach for the second oreo, or to yell less and calmly redirect your kids? Yes, that one. You might want to listen up.

3. Boosts our creativity. The constant pressure to do and be more dries up our creative juices. Allow yourself some freedom for nada. Gift yourself the permission to be utterly, beautifully negligent – if only for a few minutes each day. Watch those juices start to flow.

4. Opens space in our lives. For me, motherhood often feels like being trapped in a box … and I’m claustrophobic. If you’re like me, you often fixate on the confines of that box {feeding schedules, naptimes, bedtimes, sports schedules, homework} and how they prevent you from doing what you really want/need to do. Doing nothing — while counter-intuitive — clears the air, releases you by its very indulgence.

5. Provides much-needed rest. Ever feel fried? I do at some point, almost every single day. Our constant intake of stimuli – fighting siblings, spilled milk, mommy, Mommy, MOMMY! – adds to the brain-deluge until we are so under water, some parts of our wiring sizzle and pop. Our minds need some tabla rasa time to repair those connections and refresh our perspective.

While I need to work on doing nothing – an oxymoron if I ever heard one! – I’m so grateful I listened and obeyed that morning. I left my little nothing session feeling rested and inspired.

So, the next time you have a spare minute, I hope you will choose wisely. I hope you will learn to reach for the beauty of absolutely … nothing.

Want to catch up on the Spark Moms Creativity Series? Here’s an indexed list of previous posts:

Spark Moms Posts:

Igniting The Spark
Permission to Play
Why You Need A List of Affirmations
The Done Vs. The Doing
You Glow Girl
I’m Not Creative … And Tomato Basil Tart

Spark Moms Interviews:

Melissa Aldrich, of Quiet Graces Photography
Liz Lanza, of After Dinner Designs
Sarah Dunning Park, Poet

Spark Moms Guest Posts:

Gindi Vincent, Do Your Right Work
Elise Daly Parker, In Living Color
Kathy Howard, Created To Be Creative
Christine Wright, Just Crazy Enough

{Back from Vacation} Lessons in Rest

{Back from Vacation} Lessons in Rest

I’ve been resting. The blog has been quieter. The school year is winding down. In fact, today is my girls’ last day.

My husband and I took a 5-day trip to celebrate our 15th anniversary — we just returned a few days ago.  And, I’ve been having a hard time getting back online after so much time unplugged. {Well, yes, I did use Instagram and Facebook to let my friends follow along in our tropical paradise. But, no bloggy anything.}

bouganvilla

My brain has been recalibrated to think in terms of leisurely strolls, slow cups of coffee, and hours upon hours reading.

So, while I keep flogging the gray matter — trying to beat it back into productivity — I do recall it was hard to settle into rest. So, it will take time to come out of it.

And, perhaps, that it is a better souvenir of my trip than the fading red lines around my swimsuit straps.

***

bethbobbeach

iguana

beach blue fence

white flower

rocky beach

 Thus says the LORD:”Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”

Jeremiah 6:16