Doing Nothing with a Muse called Lull
I have a secret for you from the next Modern Day Muse in our series - are you ready? Here it is: Doing nothing can result in great things.
You know how we are always doing . well. something? I have it from some excellent sources, yes, world renown people and even philosophers that, doing nothing is actually going to get you somewhere. That's right and in addition to this enlightened notion, doing nothing can also make you more creative. What a concept, eh? The reason it seems so surprising is that in this society there's a lot of hoopla about doing stuff... all the time.
Productivity, affecting the bottom-line, achieving the goals, painting like what's-her-name paints all the time, keeping my body slim like the air-brushed women on magazine covers, writing, cooking, gardening, marketing, raising Nobel peace winning kids, preparing dinners that rival Bon Appetite, on and on and on. these are what are most often valued as what we need to be doing all the time.
Well, I have it from these sources, including a Modern Day Muse named Lull that visits me when I need to write books, plays, speeches, make art, love life and create a loving relationship that what is often most valuable in the process of doing and succeeding, is sitting there doing nothing.
"Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits." ~Satchel Page
The first thing I did was stop trying to change those parts of myself I'm always trying to change - you know, those things that make us human, and transferred the energy that I was using to do that, to my creativity.
Second, in the process of doing nothing, or at least looking like I was doing nothing, things incubated, percolated, connected, combined, burbled up, played with each other and created a new idea and kept creating more ideas.
When we are always doing SOMETHING those inner sacred workings do not have a chance to access wisdom, clarity and then spit out an aha moment. Or we get depleted and this miraculous, spiritual wonder we have as mortals, to bake an idea subconsciously in the void does not have a chance.
Put on pause the prospect of powering your pretty little self into perfection and productivity. Go ahead, hit the pause button. I'll let you in on another secret that I know as a trainer for creativity coaches. We mortals don't give ourselves enough credit for who we already are. Pardon me while I repeat for subliminal advantage: We women don't give ourselves enough credit for who we already are. Here are some of the magic questions that can shift you into creative goodness:
What are you already doing right?
What are you doing that has worked?
What are you glad you already did?
How magnificent are you.. Already? Without making one more change?
When unattended, our minds will go to why we need to change, what we did wrong, what we need to do more of and why we aren't good enough. For right now- let go of that. Take the notion that you're not good enough into your hands like a flock of doves, a bunch of balloons, or a jar of lightning bugs. Go ahead do that. And now let them go. Free yourself of the pressure. Celebrate who you already are and you will emerge with some of that vital confidence I talked about in the column on Audacity last month.
In the creative process, we need to let go. We need to surrender. Forget trying to control things and to change yourself for a minute, for a week. Trust in the process. Be in gratitude. Here are some sources that validate what I'm saying:
"Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself" - Zen Proverb
"It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing." -Gertrude Stein
"Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth comes to the top." -Virginia Woolf
"By slowing down, taking a break, releasing the process, and diverting our attention, we fill our souls, body and mind with the nutrients for the next step in the creative cycle. Ideas, inspiration, and motivation fulfill the creative cycle's promise of the return to spring. Aha-phrodite shows up again, you resume your Marge efforts and continue from a place of plentiful readiness. We don't need to fill every space of silence with stimuli. Silence and stillness can be quite medicinal."
~Lull, Jill Badonsky's Modern Day Muse of Pause, Diversion and Gratitude.
Revise your New Year's resolution. Make it something that worked last year and keep doing it this year. Celebrate the moments in between all the business. Breathe in the joy of being alive, even if it's just 5% more than that which you would normally experience. Enjoy being in joy.