Our response to difficult times in our lives often involves trying a new way. This seems reasonable, right? But, you know the experience of trying so hard to change, and ending right back at square one (maybe even square -5)! Why is it that trying doesn’t always get us what we want?
Doing “something” to change is not often the something we really needed in the first place. We choose it because we are desperate to feel better, to experience our lives in a more fulfilling way. It is natural, and it is a part of our learning as human beings. Your friend is doing a new diet, which is coincidentally similar to a diet you’ve tried in the past (and found yourself back at square one), but you hit the grocery store with a list of allowed foods (that you hate) and hope that your willpower can get you through it. Your child’s behavior is out of control, so you seek out the latest and greatest behavior modification training. Your job is not challenging you enough, so you start the search for a new one.
It is possible that your efforts may lead to the change you desire. But, when your efforts do not produce change, this is something to pay attention to. There is something to learn about yourself, that you can’t yet put your finger on, about what you truly need.
How do you really know what you need? What if doing nothing is your something? What comes to mind when I say this? Lazy? Apathetic? Helpless? Endless mani-pedi's? Cups of hot herbal tea without a care in the world?
To do nothing means to stay with yourself, taking the time to discover what you really need. Many times, we put forth incredible effort in hopes of not only leaving our challenging situation, but to actually leave ourselves. We aren’t aware that the solution we believe we have found is really only a cloak: a clever cover intended to protect ourselves from a difficult truth, and unpleasant emotions. In reality, becoming aware of the truth of what you need has been the solution all along. Emotions are temporary. But if you bury them under the cloak, they will not just disappear. They will show up in your life over and over.
How do you do nothing? Begin the journey of allowing yourself time to be with your own thoughts, the longings of your heart, and the wisdom that is already within you. As with losing weight, or parenting styles, or any challenge in life, the way you do this is very unique to you. Though meditation is very effective, there is not a “way” to meditate that fits everyone.
When I coach women who are stuck and uncertain as to how to move forward, we set out to develop practices that meet her right where she is. Without knowing you, my dear reader, I can suggest that you begin connecting with yourself by sitting down without anything to do for a few minutes. Maybe you have a tea, maybe not! Perhaps you choose to look at a beautiful view; maybe it’s just looking away from the pile of undone laundry! Just listen to yourself breathe, feel it in your body. Try not to judge yourself for distracting thoughts, we all have them! Your goal isn’t to solve the problem in one sitting. You may notice that your mind is trying to do this. Let the thoughts go by as you notice them, and return to the sound and sensation of your breathing. Start by doing this practice 3 times per week for a couple of weeks.
Would love to hear how doing nothing went for you!