A Philosophy of Nothingness.
We get it. Everybody’s busy. And making that claim sometimes just helps us feel justified that we’re contributing and doing important things.
But today, Olga Mecking, writer for The New York Times’ “Smarter Living” column, encourages us all to do more of, well, less. And to help make her case, she draws lessons from Niksen. a practice started in the Netherlands to help manage stress. It literally means to do nothing. Or as some might like to think, to do something but with no purpose at all.
“…daydreaming — an inevitable effect of idleness — ‘literally makes us more creative, better at problem-solving, better at coming up with creative ideas.’ For that to happen, though, total idleness is required. – Sandi Mann, Psychologist
So stop whatever you’re doing, put down your phone, get up, stretch, smile, take a walk. Stare at the sky. Mindlessly cuddle your dog or cat. Whatever “nothing” you choose to do…permission granted! 🙂
Photo by Andrew Neel
This spring we’ve had two friends visit from big cities…each very much in need of a respite from the pressures of their careers. Upon arrival, what they seemed to crave the most was just quiet time, down time, free of the need to “do” anything or “go” anywhere — which made me slow down, too. And it was nice. As one friend drove out the gravel driveway to head home, I couldn’t help but think this little farm has become for some a healing place. Not only for us, but for others who visit, who need to recalibrate or forget about painful things for awhile. When our mom passed away several years ago, I remember throwing myself into work even more to avoid too much reflection, and too much grief. But when I finally came here to slow down for a few days, well, my stay ended up lasting two months. It was just the antidote that was needed and time in the country helped me plan a more joyful path forward. Dr. Oliver Sachs touches on the power of nature in his essay, “The Healing Power of Gardens.” And while Dr. Sachs drew from experiences visiting some of the world’s most beautiful botanical gardens, his message is quite clear: Mother Earth can be a great healer.
“The role that nature plays in health and healing becomes even more critical for people working long days in windowless offices, for those living in city neighborhoods without access to green spaces, for children in city schools…. The effects of nature’s qualities on health are not only spiritual and emotional but physical and neurological.” – Dr. Oliver Sachs
Dr. Sachs’ final book of essays — Everything In Its Place — will be published April 23, 2019.