Doing Nothing

The Holstee Manifesto

It is easy to get wrapped up in everyday woes…the overwhelming laundry piles, the job stresses and workloads that don’t let up, the sibling arguments that grate on your last nerve, the house projects that clambor for attention you can’t find the time to give them, the health problems that force you to slow down, or even stop for awhile. Not to mention family obligations, and what we see as community obligations.  We often let others define what we “should” be doing.

You “should” have a clean house.
You “should” go visit your grandmother.
You “should” go to work even though you can barely crawl out of bed and face another day.

You “should” cook dinner.

You “should” do that laundry even though everyone still has plenty to wear.

You “should” exercise.

You “should” do a blog post because you set a goal for yourself.

You “should” take photos because you know you enjoy it, even though you can’t strum up the energy for creativity.

You “should” go to Church.

You “should” run to the grocery store.

Our lives are so cluttered with things we are doing because we think we “should” and our bodies are revolting.  When your Soul loses its way, your Mind takes over and decides to run the place.  It works very hard to get your Soul’s attention, and it is not kind in its methods.  It packs on the pounds, it makes you crave every food that is not good for you, it forces your body to an unhealthy place, it brings on depressive thoughts, all in an effort to grab your Soul’s attention.

My personal journey toward wellness (I am not quite there, but I am moving forward now with only a few steps backwards now and then) has taken me from frustration to awareness.  It has forced me to dig deeper in order to heal.  I have had to relinquish some control…control over my house, control over my family, control over my body.

My Needle Man says there is always something you can DO to heal yourself, and that sometimes the thing you need to DO is Nothing.  Nothing in the true sense of the word.  How many of us take time to do Nothing?  Try it sometime.  It is nearly impossible.  Even if you sit still in a quiet room, your mind is racing.  And what is it racing with?  The “shoulds” and the “worries.”  My biggest challenge when I began Acupuncture was being “quiet.” Sitting in a recliner, awake, eyes closed.  At first I couldn’t even close my eyes.  I would watch everyone around me in a state of relaxation and wonder about why they were there, or I would watch the lights dangling from the ceiling, swaying in the soft breeze and count the rhythm.  I would read the quotes on the walls and try to decipher the Chinese characters on the wall hangings.  When I finally was able to close my eyes, my Mind would race considering all the things I should be doing instead of sitting there for an hour.  I would go down my list of worries and contemplate them and chew on them.  I would spend time cursing my sciatic nerve and my back and my diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and think of all the reasons why that diagnosis could not be true.

Then I made a change.  I wanted to shut out the cluttering thoughts so I began a routine of saying The Holy Rosary.  It was repetitive and a distraction from other thoughts.  Still not quiet, still not Nothing, but at least it was a respite from the Noise.   But over time things began to shift. I began to notice stillness, and quiet.  I don’t know when it happened, but it did.  One day, I left my session realizing I had thought of nothing during my hour.  I hadn’t fallen asleep, but I had gone to a place of silent meditation…Doing Nothing.  And my body began to respond.

My Mind finally grabbed my Soul’s attention, and my Soul is back in charge of Me.  I am becoming tuned in…when I am upset, the nerve speaks.  When I am angry, the nerve speaks.  When I am tired, the nerve speaks.  And then I give in to the need to Do Nothing.  I force the “shoulds” away, and take the time to be quiet, allowing healing to come in.

I’m working on spending time doing things I “want” to do, along with the things I “need” to do.  “Shoulds” are out the window.  And as I unclutter my life of the shoulds, I am noticing that many of those shoulds have realigned themselves as “wants.”  I want to go visit my grandmother, I want to go to Church, I want to take photos and write blog posts.  I still don’t “want” to do laundry, but even that has become a “need” rather than a “should.”  It’s a dichotomy change, and it’s healthier.

All this is why this post by MM, and this post by Shrew, and this post by Tracy all speak to me so powerfully.  We are all on our own personal journeys to wellness…different, yet the same.

And here I am, feeling good, feeling happy, makeupless, contactlensless, and totally content.

 “If you could clear all that space in your mind, you would have a doorway. And you know what the universe would do? Rush in.” – Richard Jenkins (Eat, Pray, Love)

8 thoughts on “Doing Nothing

  1. milkayphoto August 10, 2011 / 10:56 am

    WOW – you’ve read my mind today! I am sitting here, on this very gloomy weather day, feeling overwhelmed. And then, ‘ding!’ – I’ve got mail and there it is, or rather, there YOU are. Saying the words I need to hear today. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!! Like, seriously, a natural beauty. Your contentment shows.

    The last song in my workouts, the one that plays when I’m walking around the room, winding down after so many minutes on the elliptical, is ‘Learn to Be Still’ by The Eagles. Lately I admit, I haven’t been listening so well to the lyrics as my mind is already on to the next thing I should accomplish.

    Suddenly, now as I am about to embark on today’s workout, I feel more focussed, happy to be able to step onto that machine that has served me so well these last months. And when that final song arrives, when I am drenched in sweat and catching my breath, I WILL LISTEN to the words and do my best to ‘learn to be still’. Hugs.

    • milkayphoto August 10, 2011 / 12:18 pm

      So, I did it! AND, I LISTENED…really LISTENED. Even teared up at the words ‘maybe you’ve forgotten the heaven lying at your feet’. Yes, I suppose I have. Not sure you understand how much you’ve helped me today. I hope I can return the favor.

      • kanniduba August 10, 2011 / 5:41 pm

        Wow Tracy!! I am quite overwhelmed. Glad you found this post to be what you needed to hear today. Cool how that works, isn’t it? 🙂 I often find that what I need shows up right under my nose.
        I went and listened to that song myself today…and then bought it. 🙂 Thank YOU.

        Oh, and by the way, I want your core. 😉
        I know I have to do the work, but body willing, I will have it. Your photo is my inspiration now…in time, I hope to post a matching photo, right down to the Reebok shorts. 😀

        • milkayphoto August 11, 2011 / 8:29 am

          I’m a HUGE believer in things happening at a certain time for a reason. All yesterday morning I kept putting off the workout and then when I read your post, I realized why. It was like the universe was saying, ‘Wait for it….wait for it..’ 😉

          I LOVE that song. That whole album is fantastic! Another title (which is also on my workout playlist) is ‘Get Over It’. This song is towards the beginning and, besides being a fun song, is just what I need hear on my ‘whiny’ days.

          Favorite lyric: ‘you bitch about the present and blame it on the past, I’d like to find your inner child and kick its little ass.’ Cracks me up every time! 🙂

          I can honestly say that NO ONE has ever said that to me! How sweet! Check out ‘Core Max’ by Cathe Friedrich. Three challenging workouts but the results are amazing! I look forward to YOUR photo! 🙂

  2. Karma August 10, 2011 / 11:04 am

    What an awesome post, with words I needed to hear. I’ve been reading Shrew’s recent posts, and saw Tracy’s too, and I feel so proud for them, and now for you too. I’ve been reading posts by photographers I admire, taking the big leap to try their hands at professional photography, and I am proud of them too. Most days I feel like I am on the big hamster wheel of life, going through it but not really living it. I don’t know what journey I need to take to feel whole again, but reading your story has me thinking that I need to discover it. The picture of you is wonderful – thank you for posting it. Best wishes on your continued road to wellness.

    • kanniduba August 10, 2011 / 5:45 pm

      Thank you Karma…
      I hope you Discover yourself soon. It is a long journey, one I haven’t even come close to completing, but I do believe that the answer lies within the quiet spaces. When it is silent, it is amazing what you can hear. 😉

  3. JenniferA August 16, 2011 / 8:23 pm

    Wonderful, KD!!! Great post. I especially love the picture at the end. You look so well!

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