Woke up this morning tired out of my mind. That's not entirely unusual by Thursday and with me waking at 4:40 in order to enjoy writing time. Still, this morning, the condition was more acute than usual. Rather than slow down, I felt myself revving up trying to go faster. I made lists in my head about what had to be done and major changes I needed to make right away. The whole thing left me feeling frantic even as I tried to concentrate on writing one word at a time, one line after the another, through my three pages. I was almost shaking by the time I came up from the basement office and gave the cats some food.
What I need, I told the cats, is to just do nothing.
It wasn't the cry of my laziness. I was giving myself a difficult task to complete. Set aside ten minutes, or better, half an hour, and do nothing. Sit. Stare out the window. Don't even try to meditate. Just do nothing. Be a tree. Be a speck of dust. Be nothing and do nothing. It sounded restful but challenging and thus unlikely.
First rinsed out my mug, packed a lunch, wrote a note to my wife, used the bathroom, got dressed for school. So much to get done before 6:50 when I leave the house. I greeted my wife and kids as they came downstairs. I said hello to the dog as she wagged her way down the stairs, over to me for a rub and scratch, and then into the den for a nap.
Be like the dog, I thought.
At 6:38 I went into the living room and sat on the couch. I pulled a blanket around me. I checked my watch to be sure I had time remaining before I needed to leave. And then I did nothing.
For four minutes.
I couldn't take it any longer than that. My mind kept going to all the things I need to do. I considered writing this piece. I wondered if meditation would be better or if maybe I was attempting a form of meditation here. I worried about the time and whether or not I should go into work right away and attend to things. Would that be more restful? I whirled and whirled until I threw the blanket aside and got off the couch to go do something.
Two things about this:
Whatever I did instead of nothing was so inconsequential that six hours later I can't recall it. The busyness I feel has little to do with importance. It's just that I can't sit still and look out the window.
I need to try again. There's something in this. I need to learn how to be bored and still.
At a meeting the other day we were asked to describe our happy place. I realize today what that place would be: a comfortable spot on a river that is going by. I swear I could watch that all day. And I really need to.
I'm just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round
I really love to watch them roll
No longer riding on the merry-go-round
I just had to let it go