When I retired I wanted to practice more ‘being’ rather than ‘doing.’
People would often ask me what I was doing with my time now that I was no longer working. They expected that I may have taken up a new hobby, such as gardening, golf or bridge. I think they liked to imagine I was kept busy and were surprised, if not alarmed, when I said I was practising ‘being’ more. When I explained that I was actively trying to break the habit of always needing to be doing something, they began to understand what I was getting at.
When working I was used to multi tasking and getting through a huge amount of jobs, meeting targets and fitting as much as I could into the day. After a lifetime of constantly ‘doing’ I felt guilty taking time to myself. I felt obliged to doing something useful and was tempted to take up new roles. Then there is the pressure of social media and answering messages.
Giving Myself Time
What I needed to do was to stop and give myself space and time. A chance to slow down and just do nothing. Spending time remembering who I am; which is a peaceful being. Having that feeling of contentment with nothing to do, nowhere to go.
Doing Less and Achieving More
Rather paradoxically I needed to plan to set time aside in the day for myself; retreating to a room to sit quietly or going for walks. Importantly I had to learn to slow down and to bring my attention to what I am doing while not letting the mind wander. There is another paradox: the more time I spend being with myself the more I am able to achieve.
Of course you do not need to have retired to slow down and make time for yourself, you can start right now.
Dr Craig Brown