I just wrapped up my assignment for the blogging book club, The Next Chapter. We're discussing the book, The Joy Diet by Martha Beck.
The first chapter involves doing nothing. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Truth be told, it is actually a rather difficult task to spend 15 minutes completely alone with my thoughts. I mentioned last week that I actually started reading this book several weeks back and stopped after a couple chapters so I could fully participate when the book club started.
The first time I attempted nothingness, it was very uncomfortable. I've spoken before of this guilty feeling I typically get being alone and not doing something. 15 minutes of peace and quiet made my mind race with thoughts of the things I should've been doing--from answering emails to going to the post office to fixing a broken wheel on a toy car to doing the dishes. I wanted to jump out of my skin the first couple times because sitting alone with my thoughts felt unbearable.
In reality, it really was a blessing because when I forced myself to sit down and just be, it allowed me to take a deep look within myself and feel my thoughts. Feeling thoughts sounds silly, but I was able to feel in my heart what my gut was screaming out for me to do: "Listen to me! I am trying to tell you something. You are not doing what you want to do! Stop ignoring your intuition!"
After a couple chapters, I put the book down but took with me what I learned from doing nothing.
This past week of doing nothing was much difference. You see, I finally listened to my gut. I made a major life-altering decision a few weeks ago to close my popular business. I've been told by a few people that it was a "stupid" decision. Others, those who truly get it, have been much more supportive. Quite simply, I wasn't loving it anymore. I was tapped out. Drained. Left without time or energy. Unable to devote my complete attention to those most precious joys in my life: my husband and my beautiful boys.
This time around of doing nothing, I have actually been able to carve out 15 minutes per day without guilt to simply do nothing. I still have a difficult time with sitting still and just being lost within myself, but I can do it very easily and comfortably sitting in my rocking chair. The rhythmic motion of rocking allows me to do something while doing nothing. I have been able to be more mindful with my day to day activities.
During my "nothing" time, I have been relaxed enough to focus on my breathing, to enjoy the sounds and smells in the distance, whether it be the crickets or a gentle breeze blowing the flag out front. I can appreciate those simple scents and sounds I once was too busy to notice. These things of beauty in my environment are the background music to the lyrics in my soul.
I have enjoyed my time of nothing and commit to doing this each day. "Nothing" time has meant something to me, as it reaffirms to me that it is OK to follow my heart, to take a leap...
The first time I opened this book, I rolled my eyes at the thought of something as "trivial" as doing nothing. I was wrong, of course. I think I was afraid at the time of what I might think and feel if I truly sat and did nothing. It was actually one of the best things I've done for myself in a long time, though.
I look forward to discussing Chapter 2 about truth next week and am eager to read everyone else's posts this week.