31.01.12

How good are you at doing nothing? When was the last time you happily relaxed, doing absolutely nothing? My bet would be, the last time you got sick. And that’s no fun. Most of us have turned into guilt-ridden worker bees, always buzzing around, busy doing something. And then we wonder why we feel stressed and uptight and twitchy.

The other day, I found myself, during my leisure time, knitting, listening to a book, and watching snooker. All at the same time. And STILL feeling guilty about the time I was wasting, just sitting there, only doing three things. Are you like that? Do you find it impossible to do just one thing at once, let alone do nothing at all? I need my hands to be busy at one thing, and my mind to be busy on at least one other, if not more. Which makes it very hard to read a book, because really, you need to give that all your attention. I get fidgety and my mind wanders when I read, nowadays. I feel guilty for just sitting there, absorbed in a book.

I think this is partly due to our nature – women are born multi-taskers, otherwise they wouldn’t be very good mothers! And it’s partly due to our culture – everything is so pressured and frenetic that we feel compelled to cram as much into our days as humanly possible. And there’s so many distractions, so much going on.

But it’s not good. We are not designed to push and push and push, day after day, week after week. We’re designed to work and then rest. When do you get your rest? At night, in bed? Not enough. For one thing, when you are all wired and tense all day, you don’t get the kind of restful sleep your body & mind need. On the weekend? If you’re in the habit of cramming and rushing all week, you’re likely to do the same on the weekend – or to feel horrendously guilty if you don’t. Have you ever found yourself grateful for a head cold or a mild tummy ache, thinking, well at least I’ve got an excuse to lay on the sofa and do nothing……?

No, we need to get back into the habit of idling, of doing nothing, or doing very very little. Of trying to schedule our lives so that we can do one thing at a time, as much as is reasonable. To be able to hold a phone conversation without also browsing the internet. To be able to watch a movie with doing the ironing. To be able to sit in the garden and watch the birds, to lay on your back and gaze at the clouds, to stare into a log fire, to listen to music with your eyes shut and your hands still.

I like the words of Jerome K Jerome – the writer of Idle Thoughts From An Idle Fellow:

“It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do. Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen.”

30.01.12

Thank you so much for the music recommendations! I got some great albums off iTunes, and as soon as they finish downloading, I’m going to curl up with my knitting in front of the fire, and chill out. There are so many great singer/songwriters out there! It got me thinking, about all kinds of stuff. About why I limit my choices, or even choose nothingness, rather than risking something that might dredge up bad feelings, hurt me, frighten me, or cause pain. Not just music choices, of course, I’m talking about all kinds of choices in life.

I think that one of our most fundamental needs is to feel safe. Secure. When life deals out blow after blow, your need for safety increases. And unless you are aware of that, you can get into all kinds of habits of narrow living, in the vain hope of reclaiming security. Happiness might be better than nothingness, but happiness is notoriously unstable and transient and, usually, out of our immediate control. Nothingness, or settling for less, is better than pain and heartache and fear. So, many of us base all our choices in life on that. We don’t take risks. We allow the edges of our life to draw in on us, like a winter dusk, getting earlier and earlier every day. We say no almost all of the time. We try to fill the void inside us with things, instead of experiences, or by living vicariously through others, our children, our partners, our friends, or strangers, on blogs, on TV shows, in books. We feel empty and bereft and cheated, but we think this is part of life’s pain, so we shrink away even more. Until we’ve painted ourselves into a little corner of life.

Are you living in a little dark corner? Have you traded off the experience of living, with all its hopes and fears and joys and sorrows and mistakes and victories, for a sense of security? Is it worth it?

Let’s open up. Let’s say yes, at least some of the time, to new things and new people, to hopes and dreams. Let’s get out there and make some glorious mistakes, and have regrets, and be imperfect, and learn. Let’s explore all the corners of our souls, from attic to cellar, instead of staying in one tidy little corner. Ignore the voice that says, you can’t, you mustn’t, you daren’t, you’ll be sorry, you’ll regret it. 

Otherwise, it’s not living. It’s barely even existing. What a waste. Who could you be, if you opened up to life???

“The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

 

29.01.12

I need some music recommendations. I’ve been only really listening to classical music & old fashioned jazz standards for a long time now, because I’m very very sensitive to music, and find it easily pulls at my heartstrings, so I stick with the gentle old stuff.

But I’m feeling a pull towards more contemporary music. Not pop, heaven forbid. Something really mellow and gentle, definitely a singer/songwriter, maybe piano, maybe guitar, with a folky vibe, but not too melancholic……..

Any recommendations?

28.01.12

This week’s shop preview (for the 4am Dawn Update on Sunday) is now up! Here’s the Flickr set, although some of it is jumbled up, for some reason, so the sequence isn’t the same as on the shop page.

Don’t forget we’ve got a little Orphans update in the evening (7pm) too. If you want to see the preview for that, click here.