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

 

To follow Craig’s daily mindfulness suggestions @amindfuldoctor  please click here.

Craig’s free meditation podcasts can be accessed by clicking here

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