When we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey”.

Wendell Berry

I’m industrious, I like to be busy, and fill my days …but when I leave this to one side and take time just to be, I feel more grounded, more calm. I naturally slow my breathing and pay attention to my senses. When outside I take off my shoes and walk on the grass.

For some of us the lock down has meant less work – I’m getting few client enquiries, and people have put work on hold. Others may be furloughed and although it seems great to be paid to do nothing there is the uncertainty for how long this can go on for.

We may fill our days with exercise, cooking, cleaning or in a less productive way fill our days with sitting on the sofa binge watching Netflix.

And ignore those motivational posts going around telling you to use this time to develop a new skill or increase fitness and/or lose weight.  The focus should be on self-compassion and accepting the difficult emotions that are coming up.

From the first few weeks trying hard to be productive on my Doctorate studies, I’m now being more mindful to do nothing.

Instead of power walking around the park with upbeat music, I’m walking slower, looking at the trees and plants and the only sound being birds and insects.

I sit on my balcony with a coffee or cup of Lady Grey tea and look out at the view – the birds in the trees, the occasional person walking down the road … my phone is left in a different room on silent and I’ve switched off the alerts on my Apple Watch. This may be a time I get insights into my work and personal life, but this is not the purpose of this time. It’s a mini insight into what happened on my 4-day Vision Quest – a mind that is still.

This may be our gift – time just to be – not to fill out days, but to truly rest. You may still be working and home schooling, but you can still take time to do nothing at all.


This article first appeared on my Amazing People website  on 5 May 2020