I’m not the kind of girl who can sit around doing nothing all day. I know some people thrive on their downtime, and I don’t judge you for that, really I don’t. It’s just not me. So, when my 8 day vacation drew near, I began to panic about how I’d how I’d ratchet back and…well….do nothing. N.O.T.H.I.N.G.
Intellectually, I knew it was time. I’ve been in high gear for several months. I planned and worked very hard to get “all caught up” for my do nothing phase. I still couldn’t justify it; not really, because I love what I do and it doesn’t “feel” like work. (Click to Tweet)
The thought of unplugging, unarting, “just being,” frankly, seemed a little scary and a lot b-o-r-i-n-g. So, rather than just blow the idea off, I decided to do a little research, hoping to convince myself it was a good idea, after all, the tickets were already purchased.
I learned it’s sort of a “disease” in America, the way we fail to take time off to recharge. Some places even look down upon a break from work. I remember that from the corporate days. Once, in my previous life, my boss yelled across a parking lot, “This ain’t no country club, Andres!” as I snuck out from work an hour early. Read more about our psychologically disturbed nation here.
Then, I stumbled upon a found a slightly stale, but still relevant, blog from 2011 <snicker> that claims being in the moment is healthy for a brain and visiting unfamiliar places helps people gain perspective – whatever. You can read it here….if you’re so inclined.
Finally, I bumped into this little ditty from Scientific America – which seems like a pretty reputable media rag to me. This article supports meditation, nature walks and retreats as regular practices of exceptional athletes and ARTISTS! Yep, that kind of got my attention. You mean doing nothing can help me do something better? I should take note.
So, in my typical fashion I planned a meditative retreat. I planned to do a little sketching. I wrote part of a blog ahead of time, I played with the thought of unplugging form electronic devices for 8 – count ‘em – 8 days. Usually, I consider an art retreats or workshops a break, but this holiday promised to be different. This would be a real “disconnecting” from my normal routine and daily activities. This would give me a change to gain perspective, recharge my creative battery and reclaim my center.
Sooooo…..I went on vacation. I met fascinating people. I saw places I’d never been. I made new friends. I laughed, drank and ate too much. I walked, did a little yoga. I didn’t sketch, meditate or spend much time on social media. I enjoyed the richness of acceptance as a new group of fascinating and wonderful people welcomed us into the fold. One of the most touching moments I experienced was being present for a memorial and scattering of ashes belonging to someone who had founded the group, but recently passed. The experience drove home the fact that
This is a person I’ll never have the privilege to meet, and despite that fact I have learned from his generosity, spirit and the way he lived his life. The lessons were profound, really….and this experience came from a vacation.
The benefits of taking breaks from our work are enormous. Not only do we get an opportunity to unwind and recharge, but may gain so much more. Sometimes we get a deeper understanding of the things that matter most in life. Our work is important, but so are the connections we make to one another, the character we cultivate in our lifetimes and the perspective we have about others who share our world. These are the kinds of things always seem to come when we aren’t looking for them.
Do Nothing, It Can Mean Everything,
Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, helping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in their lives.Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter
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