Saturday, August 4, 2012

Doing versus Not Doing

I was complaining to my partner one night that I had not accomplished very much the day before. My body hurt, my back was tired, and even though I didn't feel physically like doing very much, I still felt like I should have accomplished more. I was feeling a little unproductive, lost, and worthless.

After listening for awhile he said, "Why don't you just give yourself a break and act like you're on vacation?" And I said, "You mean, just do nothing?" And he said, "Well yeah."

My mind went blank. It came to a screeching halt. And then I caught myself thinking, "What? Is he crazy? How can I justify acting like I'm on vacation? How can I reconcile being at home, with so much stuff to do, so many things to fix, problems to resolve, and then just do nothing?" And then I realized that if we went away, went on an actual vacation, I would allow myself to relax and do only what I really wanted to do, eat the foods I wanted to eat, and have no real expectations of myself. I would let myself, you know, have fun. Enjoy myself. Enjoy the present moment, knowing there is nothing I have to fix right this minute. And I wouldn't feel guilty about what I wasn't accomplishing.

When I reflected back on my "worthless day," I realized that I was either a) thinking about what I should be doing, but judging myself for not doing it, or b) pushing myself to get it done faster, so that I could get to the next thing I thought I should be doing. In either case I wasn't having a very good time. And, my back ached and my legs were tired.

So I decided that I could afford one day to experiment - to stay at home while trying on my vacation self. You know, assume the position of doing nothing except that which pleased me. So the next day, I woke up and reminded myself that I was on vacation. I lounged in bed, meditated, found my center, my peace, and my own love. I basked in the beauty of my home, my life, and my present moment. And I waited. I reminded myself, again, that there was nothing I had to do, because I was on vacation. And then, ever so gently, a surprising thing happened. I found myself writing a blog post. Actually, it seemed to be writing me. And then I wrote another. And then another. Effortlessly. 

And then I got out of bed and fed my horses. I treated each horse's hooves - a typically daunting task considering my current back trouble. But you know what? I took my time. I listened to my body. I enjoyed the process, instead of taking my usual "get it done" approach. And surprise surprise! My back didn't hurt. My legs weren't weak and tired, and I wasn't worn out afterwards.

Moral of the story? Doing, in and of itself, is not the problem. Not doing is not the problem. The problem and its solution lies within my relationship with myself while I'm doing or not doing. Am I in a space of love and connection to Self as evidenced by a sense of ease and flow? Or, am I feeling stressed? Stress indicates collusion with my ego - the part of me that says I should, I ought to, I need to, and if I don't . . .  well, something bad is sure to happen. 

So what thoughts and feelings come up for you if I say, "Why don't you give yourself a break? Stop all of your doing. Take a vacation." And I don't mean the kind of vacation we Americans normally take. (You know the kind - we slot a week or two a year to allow ourselves to escape the self-induced stress and tedium of our daily lives). I mean the kind of vacation you can do at home - a vacation from worry, from obligation, from shoulds and ought to's, from trying so hard.

How does it feel to decide, just for one day, that nurturing your relationship with your Self, is the most important thing you could ever tend to, the most important thing you could ever do? And what if you then allowed all of your doing or not doing to evolve naturally from that? 

Just a thought.

Loving you whether you're doing or not,


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