The art of doing nothing.

Since graduating college, I had this desire to do all the things – join a quartet, play recreational soccer, take private cello lessons, coach soccer, brunch all the brunches – all the things. But then I started to dread it all, I was totally stressed out and losing all creative inspiration. When you’re a student, you don’t have a life; especially if you are working full time on top of being a full time student, so after graduation I wanted to participate in all the things I never had time for.

Now three years later, I’ve finally told myself NO, you can’t.

It’s been three months after quitting all the above and the empty space has been very silent, and sometimes haunting. I’m the type of person who, even though it stresses me out, enjoys being busy. My mind needs the distraction because when I have nothing to do, I am prone to overthinking and minor anxiety attacks about life.

In these three months I’ve gone through a rollercoaster of emotions, throw in the fact that I’ve also been going through some major life changes, I couldn’t’ even begin to describe or articulate what these emotions were. Maybe I could say they were a hint of sadness, excitement, wonder, despair, feeling completely lost, loneliness, love, stress, hate, jealousy.. it was just all bundled into one big ball in my chest.

I’m almost certain, and I keep telling myself this, that everyone feels this way. The only reason I feel like I can’t handle it is because society won’t let us feel all these emotions out. We live such a fast paced life. There are so many expectations on ourselves. In our culture we need to aspire. For comfort, for the life we are conditioned to depend on, we must aspire.

And so I was sitting in this lukewarm bath of emotions wanting to get out and fill up my time again, and ignore all these real feelings by doing what I know how to do best. But I was also exhausted, I knew I had to sit there and do nothing, ride them out. It was as if all these emotions were finally having their moment of recognition, all these moments starting from way back when………. well I don’t even know how far back because I’ve been busy my whole life!

I started reading the Tao, one poem a day, and today it gave me an affirmation – to continue on my path of nothingness.

 

If you oversteem great men,

people become powerless,

If you overvalue possessions,

people begin to steal.

The master leads

by emtying people’s minds

and filling their cores,

by weakening their ambition

and toughening their resolve.

He helps people lose everything

they know, everything they desire,

and creates confusion

in those who think that they know.

Practice not-doing, 

and everything will fall into place. 


 

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