The Importance of Doing Nothing
As this new year comes out of the gate, my personal consulting work is bringing me aspects of life that can’t be fixed or figured out with a quick solution or a fast answer.
Often, all that is appropriate is to just show up. Be there. Listen. First, hearing the details of what has happened and simultaneously being touched by the nuances of frustration, disappointment, fear, grief, sadness, anger, etc., that piggyback into the conversation as the details unfold.
Sometimes, experiences enter into our lives packaged as a problem that with a little work, courage and ingenuity can be addressed and solved fairly easily. The execution of the solution yields a certain kind of satisfaction. “I met the enemy and came out the victor” kind of accomplishment.
Then there are the experiences I am referring to today. Those life challenges that are unanticipated and unwanted such as a serious illness, a debilitating accident, a sudden death, the loss of a job, a relationship, a home, a child, a parent, a place, a life as we have known it. We are left with a loss of heart.
We turn around and in the blink of an eye the landscape of our lives has disappeared and is seemingly replaced by no-man’s land.
Nothing seems acceptable. Nothing fills the void. Nothing brings comfort. No new directions appear.
Life has let us down. We have fallen into ‘Alice’s Rabbit Hole.’ Down, down, down until we land in the doldrums.
We had a life that made some kind of sense. We were somebody in it. We were special. Now we feel like nobody. Nobody who has nothing.
Since that reality is too horrible to contemplate for very long, we frantically try to take control. We have heavy-handed talks with ourselves. We bring to mind a litany of everything we should be grateful for. We call up all our favorite motivational sayings. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” or “If it’s to be, it’s up to me!” You know the drill.
We accomplish a few false starts but they don’t catch fire. We try to put on a happy face for family and friends, because we are starting to see that glazed look come into their eyes as talk of the tragedy bullies its way back into center stage of our conversations.
We promise ourselves that we are going to keep it to ourselves from now on. We begin to withdraw our participation even more. We isolate from others and are left with nothing but frantic feelings and random, anxious thoughts as our daily companions.
There seems to be no way to get back up.
Strange as it may seem, that is the correct approach. The solution to devastating life experiences is to initially do nothing.
Stop. Stop pushing, striving, spinning, obsessing, and turning the details this way and that like a Rubik’s cube looking for the way out. At this stage, there is no way out. There is no one at fault. Life is not out to get us. There is nothing but a reality that we don’t like and we are trying desperately to escape.
Stop running away. Stop resisting. Let go. Let down. Let us down. Down, down, down into the truth that we are hurting. We are grieving. We are grieving the loss of someone or something that is important to us. This is the truth. This is also a sign that we have a great capacity to love. Therefore, we can be hurt.
We are hurt. That is a fact, not a fault. Take ownership of the facts and the feelings. That is the first step toward building a platform we can stand on called sanity.
As our hearts begins to heal, we will enter back into our lives with a deeper and richer capacity to participate in and take ownership of a life that is fierce with reality and authenticity.
Susan McNeal Velasquez writes and delivers personal development trainings and is the author of BEYOND INTELLECT: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind. Contact her at: susanvelasquez.com or (949) 494-7773.View Our User Comment Policy