The Gift of Doing Nothing
Happy New Year to you all! I hope that each one of you managed to get some time to relax, refresh and de-stress over the holiday period.
While there is something rather arbitrary to our calendar's choice of when to start a new year it does none the less give us an opportunity to step back, re-assess and regroup.
Many people choose this time of the year to attempt to make changes in their lives, through New Year Resolutions. Now in itself this is not necessarily a bad thing - wanting to curb some less than healthy habits or develop some new positive skills or traits is of course to be encouraged. That said, we all know that the experience can be demotivating, especially when the resolution is tossed away in February.
The reality is that while resolutions are usually done with the best of intentions they are often based on some imagined future state, and we erroneously equate that future state with 'happiness.' While it may be very positive to our well-being to lose weight, stop smoking, eat healthier or develop new friends and relationships none of these things will, in themselves, make us completely happy. Having a project mentality on our lives may chip away at some of our rough edges, but on their own it won't make us happy. Instead it may bread frustration and we can end up identifying with our failures.
So an alternative approach to the New year is to do nothing. By that I don't mean just ignore it, but instead reflect on where you are and accept that as your current reality. Not to dwell on your failures and shortcomings but instead to treat your self with love and compassion. Yes there is probably work to do but start with acceptance. And sometimes the biggest gift you can give yourself is to do nothing. To do nothing and just be present with your own mind.
We live in a society where 'doing nothing' is frowned upon, where every pause, every delay, is seen as time wasted. We can turn that round and see those times as precious. What if every red light, every airline delay, every free evening, every moment stuck in traffic was seen as a gift? A gift to be present with your own mind. That is a radical shift - and a liberating one.
So this week I'd like to encourage you to do nothing. It really is a gift.
I have linked below a fully guided audio meditation where we do nothing for half an hour. Feel free to use it in your practice if you wish.