I came across this interesting article in The New York Times called The Case for Doing Nothing. I thought it was appropriate for this holiday season and to rethink how we’ll live 2021. The pandemic has been central to 2020 and has forced us out of our comfort zones. That causes stress, which can give us the opportunity to rethink what we deem important and how we choose to live our lives. It’s certainly had that impact on me. The pandemic has given me more space and time; it’s slowed me down. It’s provided me the opportunity to begin writing a book on the WW material for the general public, something that was a goal of mine back in the mid 1990s when I began studying mental training.
The article states: “Running from place to place and laboring over long to-do lists have increasingly become ways to communicate status: I’m so busy because I’m just so important, the thinking goes.” If we’re honest with ourselves, then we’ll certainly see this association. For me, it’s one of the most difficult things to separate: my worth from productivity. Being busy shifts our focus toward striving for a future we think is better than today.
The article gives us a way out of this busyness and false sense of importance. “There’s a way out of that madness, and it’s not more mindfulness, exercise or a healthy diet (though these things are all still important). What we’re talking about is … doing nothing. Or, as the Dutch call it, niksen.”
Niksen is getting comfortable with boredom. We’re comfortable with having no plan to do anything and just be. When we’re busy, our attention narrows toward the target of our busyness. Busyness points our attention toward the future. Boredom takes away the future. When we have nowhere to go, we are more likely to be where we are.
That’s the challenge this holiday season and into the new year. Busyness can tie our worth to productivity and trap our attention. Boredom can separate these and allow our attention to expand so we can wonder about our lives. Wondering frees our minds to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going. If we allow ourselves to be bored first–to wonder–then we’ll be able to pick more meaningful goals that we can work toward in 2021.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.