I think we can agree on one thing: life is perpetually busy. Our days are filled with appointments, obligations, tasks, and social activities. Idleness is the last thing on anyone’s mind because life’s to-do list is never-ending. I used to enjoy making checklists because I loved that sense of accomplishment I felt from putting a big fat tick next to something I had finished. Now, I can barely keep up with my to-do lists. When I go to tick something off, I think of 5 more things to add. Rather than feeling organized, I end up feeling overwhelmed and defeated.
In this modern age, women are burning the candle at both ends. They are running households and raising families while braving the work-force and earning livings. Many women are the Housewife and the Breadwinner. Their lives have turned into spectacular juggling acts as they try to be everything to everybody. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, aunt, employee, employer, mentor, volunteer. Interchanging all these roles can become exhausting, and many women lose sight of their true selves.
I once asked a mother of a student I taught, “So, what do you do for a living?” Boy, did I set myself up for this one! Placing her hand on her hip as she cocked it out with sass, she replied, “Well, I’m a doctor, a teacher, a coach, a chef, a chauffeur. Do you want me to go on?”
“Mother” wouldn’t have done her answer justice. She was proving that her full-time maternal role embodied more than what she does for a living.
Whether you have children or not, or whether you work full-time or not, life is busy. YOU are busy. I know, I hear ya!
But, does life need to be this way?
NO! Now, breathe a big sigh of relief!
Of course, you’ll never fully escape life’s busyness. Nor do I think deep down any of us would want to.
All of these bring meaning and fullness into our lives. All of these require action. Action and busyness are not to be feared.
BUT. . . (yes, here comes the ‘but’)
With the flow, must come the ebb.
Our bodies are meant for recharge. After each day’s activities, we sleep and rejuvenate. Similar to our nightly rest, we also need seasons of rest. Intentional time to nurture our body, mind and soul by doing nothing. This, my friend, is called idleness.
Now, idleness is often associated with laziness and sluggishness. But, let me reframe this concept.
Idleness is a conscious lack of activity or motion.
Idleness is you deciding to give yourself a break. A break from daily physical demands but also a respite from the mental marathon—the worrying, obsessing, planning, evaluating, judging, analyzing.
Idleness reconnects you with your true self.
It clears space for your mind to think, dream, and create. By intentionally doing nothing, you are giving yourself a gift. A GIFT filled with calmness, clarity and compassion for self. A GIFT many of us never open.
Mark C Taylor said it best, “Idleness allows time for the mind to wander to places never before imagined and to return transformed.”
I don’t know about you, but this quote moves something deep within me. It makes me want to run through an endless field of wildflowers screaming, “Yes, take me to that place!”
So, I am going to wander to that place.
For the first time in a long time, I’m embracing idleness. Next week, Craig and I are off to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary. I will not be taking my computer nor will I be blogging or posting. I will also be taking a break from school prep and planning. I will be living in the moment and fully enjoy doing nothing.
Yes, I’ll admit I’m scared. Will I get behind? Will I miss something? Will I become lazy?
Yet, I already know the answer. I will not do any of these things. By doing nothing, I will actually be doing so much more!
I will be listening to the inner secrets of my heart and letting my imagination run wild. I will throw out the to-do list and be gentle with my body. With no agenda, no expectations, no judgements.
I WILL JUST BE.
But, get ready, ’cause I’m gonna return transformed.
See you in this space upon my return. I’ll let you know how I go!
Question: Ask yourself, Is it time for me to stop the rat race and give myself the gift of idleness?
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