Monday, 17 August 2009

Making Time To Do Nothing

By Notes From The Frugal Trenches

I planned this post before I read the wonderful post yesterday by Bel about Burnout. It is a post I could really relate to. When I left the corporate world I had so many ideas, so many plans and oh so many lists. I wanted to learn to knit, sew, crochet, grow my own fruits & veggies, have flowers perfect for giving away, learn how to make jam & preserves, and bread too. I could just see myself being an amazing cake maker, flower arranger and seamstress. I look back now and see just how much expectation I was putting on myself and what a recipe for disaster it was going to be, of course at the time I couldn't see it. None of the veggies I tried to grow this year worked, neither did the strawberries. My knitting is moving along at a snail's pace, we won't discuss my sewing abilities or crochet skills.

The truth was, I was transferring the busyness of a corporate career into busyness at home. I was measuring success by how many new skills I learned and how bountiful my growing abilities were. Hardly simple and hardly joyous. It took one failed crop to make me realize that I was supposed to be learning to live a new, simpler, quieter more joyous life, not a life measured by the number of skills I had. I knew there had to be a better way, a more balanced way, a more wholesome way.

So I stopped, instead of daily and weekly lists of achievements I must accomplish, I created a vision of experiences I'd like to have and either realistic time frames or no time frames at all. I'd like to crochet a blanket for someone who is homeless or a child in an orphanage, not become an expert in crochet. I'd like to grow some fruit and make a fruit salad with fruit from my garden, not be inundated with more apples that I know what to do with in year one of my new journey - although I hold out hope for year 5 or 10 ;0). Simple changes & less pressure have made all the difference, I've gone back to seeing a simple life as a joyous one, not something I'm failing miserably at.

Over the past two weeks on my personal blog I've been blogging about reclaiming simple Sundays. There are no rules, just an acknowledgement that for most of us each day is filled with tasks we "need" to accomplish and lists of things to do. The point of reclaiming one day each week to do simple activities is to find joy, to make time for nothing in particular, to step away from errands, away from shops, away from stress and just be alone or together, making time for the joy found in nothing.

I've already found with just two days dedicated to nothing more than long walks, or a spot or knitting, perhaps some prayer or quiet reflection that there is a great deal to be said for nothing, and that nothing is perhaps filled with the most important somethings.

Do you practice setting time aside each week for quiet reflection, peaceful activities and rest?