The art of doing nothing, and why it’s important
“Att göra ingenting” was first published on my Swedish Blog.
This is a post I wrote while staying in Koh Chang last autumn, to figure things out:
The art of doing nothing is extremely hard. I’m not just talking about lounging around on the couch, well yes, in a way I am. But to actively do nothing is so much more than just relaxing or being lazy. To remain in the present and not think about anything other than what you are doing at the moment, to stay here and now, and not wander around in your thoughts.
That is to do nothing, and it is hard; extremely hard.
This year (2012) has been crazy for me, I’ve been up and about all the time, constantly 24/7. Although I didn’t quite notice, because I was right in the middle of the hamster wheel, and everything just spun faster and faster.
When I arrived in Bangkok I woke up, because that’s when I broke into million pieces.
So I decided to go to Koh Chang to sort out my broken inside and untie all the knots holding me back. Now I’m here and every day I’m working hard with doing nothing, or simply to do one thing at a time.
I am a person who enjoys watching a lot of movies, but while doing it I want to do something else too, because otherwise I feel like I’m wasting time.
So I watch the movie while doing manicure, playing wow, reading a book, knitting or writing. For a while, sometime ago, I got obsessed with playing wow, knitting and reading books at the same time. Needless to say, I didn’t really get much out of anything…
Wow, what simultaneous capacity, you might think.
But the thing is I don’t have an enormous simultaneous capacity, just an amazingly fragmented mind. I am not fierce in multitasking, just fierce in never put 100% in anything I do, to never be totally focused or present.
If you don’t know how to multitask, you’re worthless.
Everything goes so fast in our society today, and to just do one thing at a time is more or less despised, people frown upon it. You should do as much as possible in such a short time as possible – then you are good. I don’t want to be good anymore, I want to be me and accomplish things for me and not only to be good.
So every day I have to brace myself, I have to persuade myself that I can do whatever I want, without someone judging me.
I feel guilty if I sleep until 13.34. Why? I’m on vacation, I have time off on an indefinite basis – why can’t I just do whatever I please? Because it’s deeply rooted within me, that every day I have to accomplish something in order to feel that I’m good enough, that I’m worth something.
But what difference does it make how long I sleep. What is this? I remember when we spent my mother’s 50th birthday on Cyprus. Martin (an ex-boyfriend of mine) and I liked to sleep in, and one day we arrived at the pool, it was closer to 2 o’clock, and we got yelled at for sleeping our vacation away. I was stunned.
Isn’t it up to me how long I want to sleep?
As well as it now is up to me what I want to do during the days. I don’t have to be good every day. I just have to be, but somehow I feel the need to get up early, go to the beach and do the most of the day.
Although now I’m trying to put my foot down. Now I’m trying to tell myself to back off, but it’s really hard; hard to stand there when the day is over and realise I haven’t accomplished anything, not a single shitty thing, I haven’t been good at all.
But I keep on fighting and hope for the day to come when I don’t feel the same anxiety after having spent a whole day doing nothing. Just observing life in general.
Doing nothing is an art we all need to practice; to find peace in our minds in our souls.