We all live busy lives. We run from one activity to another and have very little down time to just be. We may even feel lazy or guilty if we have a few spare moments and stop to take a break, doing nothing of great importance. It seems that everyone around us is doing such interesting and amazing things, and if we aren’t doing the same, we are missing out or doing something wrong. It seems like if we stop for a few moments, we will lose our edge and be left behind.
In my conversations with friends, I find that very few people have time that they set aside to do nothing or at least have time when things aren’t scheduled. It leaves us little time to reflect and to appreciate our lives as they are in this moment. Because it feels as if there is so much to do and never enough time, we feel compelled to fill in every moment of the day with something, and sometimes things we don’t care to do or enjoy.
I am a big fan of goals. I think it’s important to make plans to do the things we really want to do and to find what makes us feel fulfilled. We need to have things to look forward to and work towards. There’s no feeling quite like setting a goal and accomplishing it, even though it is difficult (maybe especially if it is difficult). I hope that everyone has a goal and feels a sense of purpose in their lives. I also hope that everyone has free, unscheduled time that allows them to choose to not do so much.
Having time that is truly free of any obligations or expectations seems to be a lost art. Allowing our minds to wander freely, not caught up in the busy-ness of every day gives us the opportunity to reflect and notice what is happening in nature, in the world around us, and even in our own thoughts. When we allow ourselves to slow down, we allow our bodies to relax and we can take in information in a different way. We can use free time to day dream and be creative in a way that scheduled time does not do, bringing balance into our lives and new perspectives into our thinking.
Oddly enough, I find that it isn’t easy to stumble across time that isn’t spoken for, and I have taken to actually scheduling time that is free of activities. It may be a few hours, or it may be an entire weekend or a week-long vacation, but it doesn’t usually happen on its own. I notice that any time there is a gap in my schedule, it is easily filled with phone calls or an invitation to do something or getting around to doing all the things I have been putting off for someday when I have time. That leaves very little time truly unscheduled. So, when I plan it, I also find that I have to fiercely guard it so that I really can do exactly what I want to do.
Find some time in your schedule to just sit in a hammock and stare at the clouds going by or to take a long walk without headphones or a telephone, and simply enjoy the scenery as it goes by. Sit down with a mug of tea and just breathe, or do something else contemplative that feels good to you. Schedule some unscheduled time and do something good for you!