Dear Members and Friends,
He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
-Albert Einstein, 20th century
Here we are almost two weeks into the New Year. How are you doing with those resolutions? Are you still engaging them? Are they still floating around somewhere in your awareness? Or have you already moved on from them, given up, forgotten them?
Again, as I discussed in my last blog posting, it may be that your resolutions have been pushed aside by the hectic pace of life today. To gauge just how busy your life is, consider what you generally do when you find yourself standing in line, like at the grocery store or Post Office. If you are like most people (myself included) you probably pull out your phone and start checking your email, or scrolling through your Facebook feed, or Googling something.
We have become very adept at multitasking and now we are compelled to make efficient use of all our time (especially since we have these powerful computers in the palms of our hands!) The result is that we have sacrificed all of our free moments to the god of efficiency. What we have lost is valuable time.
Every moment that in the past we would have spent gazing out the window or chatting with people around us is now spent in pursuit of “getting things done.” But two things happen. We continually add to the list of things that must be done, so that sometimes things we want to do, like resolutions for growth and transformation, get lost or pushed aside. Also, we lose the opportunity (and increasingly the capability) of “pausing to wonder and stand in rapt awe” as Einstein suggests we must to remain alive.
So, if you have found your New Year’s Resolutions already pushed to the side in your life, let me suggest a “Non-resolution resolution” for you to consider. Try adding the practice of “Doing Nothing” to your daily life. Instead of always filling your time with efficient, productive activity, find some time to just be, to be still, to gaze and daydream. Next time you are in line, instead of pulling out your phone, instead use the time waiting to observe the world around you; look at the people; maybe even engage in some idle chatting. When you are stopped at that traffic light, or sitting in that slowly creeping line of traffic, instead of checking social media, check out the sky, check out the nature around you (there is an amazing amount of wildlife with which we share the urban/suburban environment of South Florida).
Approach these “do nothing” moments as a sweet little luxury you give yourself that allows your brain to be in idle mode. You should feel relaxed and peaceful and it should be easy to walk away from this activity and re-engage your life in your normal, hectic pace when you need to. Your mind and body should move and work with little effort. It should not become a “new chore” you must address daily. Plus it should be fun. Don’t engage in analyzing, judging or critiquing your “do nothing activity.”
By choosing to have times where you do nothing, you are bringing the practices of simplicity and mindfulness into your life. You are becoming aware of when you are choosing to let in the white noise rather than sit in the silence. By doing so, you will start to unwind your system, find rest more easily, and ultimately enjoy and engage in the important parts of your life more fully. You will also be opening your eyes and rekindle your ability to pause in wonder and rapt awe before your life. You will most assuredly be more fully alive.
See you in church.
R. Steven Hudder
Pastor, Christ Congregational United Church of Christ
Palmetto Bay, Florida