LESS IS MORE: THE POWER OF NON-DOING
I sat in his perfect garden, blooming all the colors of early September in the East Bay. This place always brings me to a calm - charms and mantras in hidden spaces between various shades of green. We've come to name it the Buddha garden, and that's where my mentor and I usually meet when I'm seeking guidance - other times just for tea and then guidance I don't even know I'm seeking.
"Everything feels like it's happening but I feel stuck. I'm paralyzed by my to do list. No matter how much I do, it keeps growing." I told him. He jotted down "Self-care" and circled it on a white piece of paper. He listened as I continued; "I'll set off on a long run but the pressure to respond to emails cuts it short. Everything feels likes it's due TODAY."
As I kept talking, he took specific notes - "running, yoga, practice." Then we caught up on all sorts of other stuff. At the end he came back to the self care circle and circled it three more times.
I felt lighter simply by spitting my brain jargon into the sun rays and off in the wind. "You know what to do," he said, "return to practice."
He prescribed a full day without my laptop, it was a long weekend anyway so there was no excuse. When I got home I stayed up late clearing out clutter from my desk drawers. The next morning I woke up to light some incense and open the blinds to the freshness.
The day flowed and so did I. I finally made it to the yoga class I'd been meaning to join, I rode my bike, I grabbed long overdue coffee with friends, I cooked a slow delicious meal for a dinner party of one, and I made art. At the end of the evening I had a rush of inspiration, so I pulled out a giant drawing pad and wrote it all down.
Before I knew it I had come up with the strategy that I'd been trying to create in front of my glowing screen, for days maybe weeks. Like magic.
The next day I set off on a short jog before opening my laptop to get back to email, or as my friend calls it, "that very very dark place." My legs listened to the sun and decided we'd extend our run. My soul agreed and we ran all the way to the water. I ran barefoot in the sand and took a dip in the cold Bay. Renewal.
By the time my run ended, I had come up with creative solutions to various things on the list that previously felt heavy and overwhelming. I made more art. I made more nourishing food. I ate superfood chocolate. And I feel whole.
"Return to practice." Return to the things that make you feel alive. Self care. Make space for new creative ideas and the wisdom of your pure thoughts and emotions. Practice anything you want more of in life.
Doing, doing, doing, don't. What a sweet reminder that we do our best work when we simply let ourselves BE.
<3 Regina Felice