Are You Up for Nothing?

One of my favorite things to do is nothing.

The problem is I don’t do enough of nothing.

I’m working, running errands, writing, playing on my mobile ─ you get the picture.

CaptureBut when I do nothing, I feel better. People who know me often don’t believe me when I tell the I am doing nothing. But it is the greatest gift you can give yourself because it gives you time to recharge, to ponder, to be.

I now have a better way to define what it is I am doing. The Dutch have a word for it, niksen. I learned about it in an article in The New York Times, The Case for Doing Nothing” by Olga Mecking.

She wrote, “The idea of niksen is to take conscious, considered time and energy to do activities like gazing out of a window or sitting motionless.”

One of the best ways for me to practice niksen is when I gaze out a window at birds at the feeder. I become mesmerized by the variety of species as I watch them flit to and fro. Before long, I am barely aware of the birds and am simply staring into space. It’s a wonderful feeling for as long as it lasts.

Even before I knew of niksen, I tried to follow the advice of Lillian Hellman, who said, “You do too much. Go and do nothing for a while. Nothing.”

Sage advice.

Are you up for nothing?

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