Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The good in doing nothing!

I was born and raised in the city. Lived in the city all my life until I got to live on the farm for a couple years. I remember when I was little and our family would take a trip out of town, we'd drive down a lot of country roads and we'd see people sitting on their front porch doing absolutely nothing, just watching cars go by. I can remember hearing my parents talking about those lazy country people. Later in life, I married a man who always had to be busy. He had to be making "productive use" of his time. You'd never catch him just sitting around doing nothing. He thought of that as a good thing and so did I, I guess. I certainly didn't want to be lazy!

Well, when I moved out to the country in 2007, I would see people sitting on their porch and I would think to myself that I didn't want to be like them. There was too much that needed to be done to be just sitting around. I just didn't "get" why they did that.

The side of the farmhouse I lived in had a long porch that stretched the entire length of the house and on that porch, my landlord left a rocking chair and a little wooden table.  When I first moved out there, I'd go sit in the rocking chair and read or work on whatever project I had going on. I'd sit there and rock and rock and it was nice. But a little at a time, I started rocking slower. Then, after a while, I didn't rock at all. And eventually, I didn't take anything out onto the porch to read or work on.

Finally, I got it! It took me a while but eventually I realized that sometimes the most productive thing you can do with your time is.....nothing! I learned the fine art of doing nothing and I learned the value of being still and quiet. It's in that still, quiet state that I found healing and peace. I cried a lot of tears out there on that old porch and let go of a lot of anger and fear. And I didn't do it by "doing". I did it by "being"! I heard once that we are human beings not human doings. Finally that made sense.

So now I have no problem whatsoever sitting and being still and quiet and giving my mind and body time to rest and rejuvinate. And I find that when I regularly take time to just "be",  then I'm more productive when it's time for me to "do". And that's a good thing! Keep looking for the good.

Here's the farmhouse and the porch where I got back in touch with myself. I just sat there and my self just showed up! Cool, huh?

1 comment:

  1. So true, Jo Ann. I have a friend of mine who is always on the go, running around doing things. All her spare time seems to be chasing after things as if she's trying to out run something. Well, from my observations, I think what she's running from is herself. And if she were to stop and be still all those things would catch up to her and she'd have to face them and then deal with them. But I think doing that very thing is what frees us.

    It sounds like your porch and that rocking chair was exactly what you needed at that time. And learning to just be. Keep looking for the good. I love it :)