For much of my life I lived by the philosophy: “If I don’t do it, figure it out, or orchestrate it, either it won’t happen or it will be done poorly or wrong”. For a long time, this way of living worked…sort of. I got a lot done anyway. But I was never at ease. I felt guilty and lazy when I wasn’t struggling with something…and I was always struggling with something. If my life was momentarily peaceful, I’d take on other people’s situations and struggle with them. Every problem, of every person in my life, became mine to solve.
It was a stunning revelation when I realized that I lacked faith in anything beyond myself. It was shocking to see that I had so little faith in Life/Love/Spirit. I also realized that my attitude was condescending toward others and a very limited way to see myself: a bundle of problems to be solved.
I had no idea how much harm these worry/struggle thoughts were doing, but I knew that I was getting tired and I assume that I was tiring to be around as well. Even if I wasn’t physically active, my mind was working (struggling) over-time. The question, “How can you do nothing and expect life to change?” always nagged me until I realized that doing nothing didn’t mean sitting somewhere with racing, worried, angry, frustrated, or “concerned”, thoughts.
As I began to relax, to trust the larger part of me/Life/God/Love, I started to experience the spontaneous dissolution of “problems”. Sometimes I would just imagine a person (including myself), who I’d been worried about for whatever reason, as smiling or laughing, as I sat outside enjoying my morning cup of coffee, and often I’d either get a call or an email from that person with a happy message. If it was my own perceived problem I’d find a similar resolution had occurred, or I’d get a new idea on how to go forward and find the situation quickly solved.
I began to see that doing nothing wasn’t really doing nothing at all. I began to see that true rest meant having a mind that was at peace… and that kind of rest was always available. It is one thought (or the dropping of one thought) away.
“I always forget how important the empty days are, how important it may be sometimes not to expect to produce anything, even a few lines in a journal. A day when one has not pushed oneself to the limit seems a damaged, damaging day, a sinful day. Not so! The most valuable thing one can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room.” May Sarton