Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday Tipday: How To Do Nothing

As someone who is riddled with fears, wild hopes and anxieties, it is frequently important to sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up and do nothing. And I'm not talking about turning off the TV so you can start the latest bestseller. God, no. I'm literally talking about doing nothing.

About twice a month I sit in the bathroom with fresh air blowing across my face and stare out the window. (What do you mean, am I using the bathroom? A-Rude question; B-Sometimes, yes; C-What does it matter?) All I care about is having a little time to clear my mind of worries and responsibilities.

That's all that should matter to you, too. Here's how to make it happen.

How To Do Nothing

1) This is not a chore. Don't immediately add Do Nothing to the already long list of crap you have to take care of. Planning for it will make it seem like a duty instead of a sanity-saving measure.

2) Stop where you are. This isn't about marathon length quiet time; the goal is to fit it into your daily activities. I don't make special trips to the bathroom for this, I just linger a bit longer than necessary on occasion. So, if you finish loading the dryer, stop for a minute or two, listen to the hum and do nothing. I promise, it will feel nice.

3) Find what you like. If you're having trouble carving out 60 seconds for this, you're probably trying too hard to "do it right". Think of something you enjoy looking at and use that as your focus for nothingness. Ripples blowing across a lake? Fine. Running horses? Great. Naked people? That'll do the trick. Commit that image to your imagination if it's not naturally occurring around you. Then, use it as a starting point.

4) Meditate if you dare. Years ago when I was living in my first apartment after moving out of my mom's place, I tried in earnest to meditate. I'd lay on special mats and light special candles and listen to special music. Nothing much ever came of it. Then, one night with my windows open and sounds of the street pouring in, I decided to sit in a lawn chair in my living room in the dark and try again.

I don't know exactly what happened, but I had some sort of semi-transcendent moment that scared the shit out of me and made me stay away from meditation for over a decade. My point? Find what works for you. All the prep work I put in clearly stopped me from having a real experience. If you need more than a minute on the toilet, take it.

5) Relax, already. To really clear you mind, don't try to clear your mind. That will only litter your brain with all kinds of useless rumblings that will be even harder to get out. Let your mind wander. The thoughts will come and go, and in between them you'll have little spells of calm blankness. You will finally be doing nothing, and you'll like it.

Now, let's dive into New Music Week!

What's you favorite way to do nothing?


Susan Cooper said...

I am kind of getting into this. The French certainly know how with art and flair in the act of doing nothing... :)

Citygirl said...

Thanks, Susan. Let me know if my tips work for you! Maybe it'll be easier to slow down for a bit in France :)

Geek Girl said...

Now 'doing nothing' is a tough assignment. LOL

Citygirl said...

I know, GG, I know! Just try it. Next time you're running errands, instead of immediately jumping out of the car, sit for a minute or two, breathe deeply and close your eyes.

Every little bit helps.

Bindu said...

Great tips, CG,
Sometimes it is hard to relax. I will try your methods.
Visiting from BHB, from LinkedIn

Citygirl said...

Thanks for visiting Bindu! Let me know if the tips work for you :)

JeriWB said...

I too am a firm believer in the art of doing nothing. I think my favorite is to sit in a chair and look up at how sunlight streams dappled light through leaves. I wouldn't say I do so on a regular basis, but semi-regular is better than never at all! Listening to my small patio fountain is another great downtown I cherish.

JeriWB said...

Grrr, not sure if my other comment when through, so here's a second attempt. I like watching the way dappled sunlight streams through leaves or listening to the sound of water trickling in my small patio fountain. It helps me center my thoughts.

Citygirl said...

That does sound peaceful, Jeri. And you're so right, semi-regular is better than never!

Carlo St. Juste Jr., L.Ac, MAOM said...

Hi Citygirl there's definitely a great lesson in your meditation experience which is sometimes you don't need all the bells and whistles to have the perfect experience. Just enjoying the feeling of being is truly an amazing experience.

Citygirl said...

So true, Carlo. Sometimes the bells and whistles get all up in the way :)


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