The Importance of Doing Nothing

This morning I acknowledged that I am a “To Do List” Freak. The realisation came as a surprise, rendering me stunned and embarrassed. Only weird people would derive tantalising pleasures, from compiling steady streams of seemingly achievable objectives. But not people like me – surely not?

This morning I observed – as my pen flew across the page – a definitive rush of enthusiasm, at the unfurling possibilities all neatly handcrafted in ink. It was the anticipation of achievement, that grew bigger, with every added task. And at that moment, something changed as my pen poised mid-air.

The sneaking sense, that behind the screeds of intended chores, lay hidden an insidious construct. A manufactured ideal of what ‘Successfully Functioning Adult’ looks like, for me. As I lay my pen down, I realised this fluid image floated eternally beyond my grasp. My “To Do list” created a trail of exhaustion and failure in its wake.

So, when did life become so bound and rigid?

As I child I would lay in the backyard, seeing clouds roll above me; feeling grass grow under me; watching bugs merrily dance their mating rituals around me. I was fully present to the exquisite joy of doing absolutely nothing. To my parents’ distress, I spent most of my childhood hours doing absolutely nothing. It was enough, and I felt complete.

But now it seems, I am caught in an endless web of activity that feeds the external existence.

Somewhere along the line, I traded spontaneity for responsibility. Every day tediously prearranged…

Work, groceries, laundry, parenting, good health, clients and friends. On the positive side, I do practice self-care with massage, reiki and crystal healing. But now, even my meditation routine is starting to look more like ‘spiritual gymnastics’ squeezed between the morning alarm and gym workout. Tick the God-Box then we’re moving right along, to squats, planks, and sit-ups.

It is not so much the “practical collation of tasks into a systematic order” that I queried this morning. The burning question I needed to answer was “why”. Why did I begin to equate being busy, with being effective? Why did I disconnect from the importance of doing absolutely nothing? And perhaps even more importantly, why did I start gauging my self-worth through the completion of the “To-Do” list?

I can only suspect it began when I first started raising my family. When the post-natal ‘voice of fear’ posed an insidious, and self-destructive question ….

“Am I doing enough?”

And as I sit here now, thinking back, I can’t help but wonder if this one question, was conveniently hiding an even deeper, self-destructive question. One that undoubtedly scared me even more. A question that – sadly – haunts many of us throughout our lives.

The simple question being – “Am I enough?”

** Note to self: Remember the “High Five Principle”

Prioritise five things to do each day. This makes any list both realistic and manageable **

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