Dodie sitting on top of the world Dodie's World title bar
"...many people do not know what they are doing.... They are creating themselves. Many people do not understand this. They do not see that this is what is happening, that this is what they are doing. They do not know that this is, in fact, the purpose of all life.

Because they do not know this, they do not realize how important, how impactful, every decision is.

Every decision you make--every decision--is not a decision about what to do. It's a decision about Who You Are."
God
in "Friendship With God"
by Neale Donald Walsch
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Books I'm reading:

"Happy For No Reason:"
7 Steps to Being Happy From the Inside Out
  by Marci Shimoff



"Friendship With God:"
an uncommon dialogue
  by Neale Donald Walsch



"The Particle Garden:"
Our Universe as Understood by Particle Physicists
  by Gordon Kane



Musings, Ramblings and Minor Insights
February 10, 2009

Permission to DO NOTHING

I decided to go to the Tuesday morning book study at church this morning. The group is studying "Happy For No Reason" by Marci Shimoff (see sidebar). The discussion turned to how, in our busy lives, trying to keep up with the even busier world we live in, we seldom slow down enough to just enjoy the simple pleasures of life--like a brightly colored flower, squirrels at play, a big fluffy cat sunning itself. In fact, sometimes, we're so busy, we may not even notice these things at all. One older gentleman, commented that sometimes he just sits in his chair.... and thinks about getting up.... and then decides not to. And I thought, "How wonderful to be able to do that... without guilt!" That's when it dawned on me, perhaps it's not that we don't have the time to enjoy smelling the flowers, or listening to the birds, or just relaxing in our chair without feeling compelled to DO SOMETHING. Perhaps it's that we won't give ourselves permission to take a moment to DO NOTHING AT ALL. In the back of our minds it seems so, well, sinful!

I don't claim to be a person who accomplishes a whole heck of a lot. Many evenings I could look back over my day and think, "If I had to stack up everything I did today, it sure wouldn't make a very big pile!" The problem is, even on such days, I don't allow myself to just enjoy my leisure. Instead of relaxing into it and saying, "Ah, this is great," I chastise myself and think of all the things I 'should' be doing.

I think it's time to ask the question: 'What about all these shoulds?' One lady in class described an interesting experiment she tried. She spent an entire day asking herself each time she thought about doing some activity: 'SHOULD I do this? Do I WANT to do this? Do I HAVE to do this?' She said it was a very thought-provoking and interesting exercise.

Right now I'm at a perfect place in my life to explore some of these ideas. Having been unemployed for ten months, I have done a fine job of tormenting myself with 'You should, you should, you should....' First of all, of course, 'I SHOULD get a job.' Never mind that I am fortunate enough to be in a place financially that working isn't a necessity--'I SHOULD be working.' Or, okay, if you're too lazy to go back to work, then you certainly ought to be painting your kitchen, cleaning your closets, organizing your bookshelves, mending your clothing.... something.... Good grief! You're a bum!!!

Yikes, I'm a self-abuser!! Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we think we have to always be busy, always be productive, always be DOING SOMETHING? Who am I? Is my value as a person based on what I DO in life? Is that WHO I AM? I suspect that is what many of us truly believe. Deep down in our heart of hearts, we don't think that just BEING is enough. Not even for a few stolen moments.

I spent a lot of years working. Hard. Long hours. Not much time for just being. In fact, most days, I worked so late, by the time I got home, it was too darn dark to go out and smell the roses! Oh, but wasn't my job a great source of satisfaction? All that work, all that dedication--didn't that make me feel useful? Needed? Didn't it make me feel productive and accomplished and special???? Didn't the glow of appreciation on my bosses' faces make it all worth while? Well, I will say this about that: My happiest day during the entire 28 years on that job was the day they said, "You're fired." You can draw your own conclusions!

I've spent pretty much my whole life trying to control everything around me, keep the chaos in check as much as possible. Security and certainty--those were my life's goals. Guess what? Never found 'em! And then, my whole world was changed in a matter of minutes, a world that I had known for most of my adult life. A world that I wasn't crazy about, but every day I could count on it to be there. Every day I could wake up and groan, "Arrrrgh, I have to go to that ßLeeP-ing job again...!!!" So, there I was, pink slip in hand saying, "Okay, what now?" And it didn't even occur to me that I could just relax and enjoy it, take some time to think, to re-evaluate, maybe even make some changes in my life. Nope, I had to find a way to get myself right back into that 'security', so that I could feel worthwhile again. Funny, isn't it, how programmed we are? To think a certain way, to act a certain way, to believe a certain way. And I came oh-so-close to going right back to it. But something spoke to me. Some quiet, crazy voice in the back of my mind, that I'd learned to ignore, fairly shouted at me: "But you hated that job!!" You hated your life! You were miserable for crying out loud--WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO DO THE SAME THING ALL OVER AGAIN?!"

. . . . . . .
After I returned home from class today, I put on my jacket, picked up a book and wandered outdoors and down the street to a park that I've never taken the time to enjoy in the 16 years I've lived here. I sat under a tree and read my book for a while. I listened to the birds twittering, the children laughing on the playground. And I decided, I'm going to take some time and listen to that crazy voice in my head. I don't know what it has to say, but it just might be worth listening to. Who knows? It may even tell me that it's okay to JUST DO NOTHING.... for a little while anyway......



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