Doing Nothing

I’m taking a class on “Reflection” and our first homework assignment was to do nothing for 10 minutes a day; no reading, no music, no magazines or emails, no chanting, no singing, no meditation even! 

At first, I thought, Will I feel lazy? No, I’ll just be bored. How will I deal with all my thoughts?  

During my first attempt, I simply stared at my cat who was sleeping in front of my fireplace.  I had never really noticed how lovely are the markings on her face!  And those whiskers – how they twitched and moved even as she slept, probing the air like antennae.  Ten minutes were up before I knew it. 

On day two, I watched a bird flitting about a bird feeder.  I focused on the hopping motion, the play of light and shadow on wings, the soft sway of tree bones in the distance.  I was mesmerized.  Again, the 10 minutes flew by.

So, it turns out that I love doing nothing — at least briefly!  It feels relaxing, restorative, restful, almost as if I’ve just taken a nap.  I find myself connecting deeply with whatever it is that I’m watching.  In fact, the time feels so luxuriously spacious that it takes a bit of effort to get back into doing something.  Give yourself permission and try it for yourself.  Let me know how it goes…

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6 thoughts on “Doing Nothing

  1. Mary Friedel-Hunt, MA LCSW

    I do a lot of “doing nothing” and find it restorative. I will sit in my art studio and look out the windows or elsewhere in the house and just be…no trying to “do”. We are such a “doing nation” and initially it felt strange but as I heal my grief and honor my fatigue, I find that doing nothing is very healing, indeed. Sometime I will close my eyes (not to meditate) but to shut out all that is around me. Great reminder, Ashley.

  2. Ashley

    Dear Mary, Thank you so much for sharing your experience. My guess is that the practice of ‘doing nothing’ inspires creativity in your art studio! Wishing you peace, Ashley

  3. Cindy valente

    Hi Ashley

    Had just finished my time of ” doing nothing ” when I opened your blog. Fun how that can happen. Hadn’t planned on sitting for a bit …. Was actually looking for something to read or ” do” and gave up and sat still instead.
    The long leaf pines are incredibly green with the bluest of skies behind them.
    My mind did wander … To healing, what I need in the future and how important animals, flowers …. are to me.
    This whole experience of life can be such a roller coaster but very precious.
    Hugs and Peace to you and yours

  4. Peg Duffin

    I love doing nothing for 10 minutes, I just look out at the birds and I am refreshed and do not know that the 10 minutes are up.

    I have been doing this for years, I used to call it my time to gawk….