I know, doing nothing is the best, isn’t it?
So why do so few of us actually do nothing? Fully, actually nothing.
Not practicing distraction, nor avoiding reality or our feelings.
No tv, or reading or fantasizing.
Fully, completely doing nothing.
Because its actually damn hard.
I was thinking about this the other day as I was coming back into the house after walking Amelia. the house was quiet, no radio, no tv, nothing on the computer. And I thought about switching on the radio and I realised I was doing that to distract myself. I wanted to avoid the silence which reflected the loneliness I was feeling, living alone in this second Lockdown, feeling isolated, far from friends and family.
I knew I needed to feel this and yet I wanted to avoid it, because it doesn’t feel good and why did I have to go through this when I could just keep putting it off?
Putting it off?
Putting off feeling my feelings. I’ve had a lifetime of doing that.
But no, this time, I didn’t switch on the radio. I didn’t put on the tv. I fed Amelia, made a cup of tea and sat in the quiet and the semi-dark and just became aware of just how grateful I am to be here, even in the midst of all this pain and discomfort. I am bloody grateful for my life. I am grateful for all the people, animals and places that give me love and hope.
Yes, it’s far from fucking easy right now.
Yes, I’ve had the occasional thought about what the fuck am I doing, whether anyone even cares, am I just shouting into a void and no-one cares about my work.
And I felt it. I felt all the pain, fear, hopelessness, loneliness, fear of never finding love again, fear of not having the impact I want to create, fear of being alone for the rest of my life.
And feeling all that I realised that I had far much more that made me feel good. I love my work, I don’t do this for approval but because I can’t not do it, everyday I must write and offer help, guidance and hopefully educate and entertain. I love my darling Amelia and the life she creates for me, meeting people every day on our walks, being in beautiful nature and being able to watch fabulous animals in their natural habitat.
I have a nice home, a secure roof over my head, hot and cold running water, food in the cupboard and in the fridge.
Pain and gratitude. Living alongside each other in the quiet.
The hardest thing we can face is inside our own head and we usually go to extraordinary lengths to avoid doing so.
My Mum would have the radio on all day, every day, she went to sleep with the radio on and woke up to her radio clock alarm. I learned that habit from her and did that myself for years. We all have our own ways of avoiding internal messages.
But when we pay attention, we learn, grow and release the pain. Once listened to, the message dissipates.
Doing nothing. Its worth cultivating the practice.
I cried, not full on sobs but tears leaking from the side of my eyes and for me that was a huge breakthrough as I hardly ever cry.
And last night watching The Crown, I cried. Watching The Christmas Chronicles, I cried.
I am releasing all sorts of stuff that’s been pent up for years and it feels, not good but healing. Yeah, I can’t say it feels good but it feels necessary.
I know much of what we do is about avoiding. Depression, anxiety, any wobble in mental health is usually due to worrying about past and future and avoiding being and feeling the present.
What can you do today to allow the present moment to take centre stage and just sit and pay attention to what’s going on, in your mind, in your body and in your life?
Without catastrophizing, or obsessing about what was or might happen. Stay here and now.
Doing nothing and paying attention to the thoughts that come up. What are they? Where did they come from?
Are they true?
What would you rather think about?
Cultivate silence. Allow your thoughts and feelings to be observed and heard.
Get conscious about what those thoughts are that are driving your life. Because those thoughts are your guard rails. Their job is to keep you inside the rails.
If that’s not a place you like or want to be. Then you can change it. De-hypnotise yourself.
Because you’re currently living in a trance, a life laid out by your subconscious mind.
And so you’re distracted, all the time distracted. Television, radio, food, drugs, alcohol, your poison of choice. And most of all, those thoughts you think.
Silence. Sitting in peace and quiet and becoming aware of your thoughts and letting them go. Allowing feelings and sensations to arise and be processed.
You grow your awareness of who you really are and what you want that’s more than this.
What’s that you’re saying? It sounds a lot like meditation? Really? Who knew!
Lol! There’s a reason those Tibetan monks always look so peaceful and serene.
I want some of that for myself too. Don’t you?
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