Don’t Just Do Something…Stand There!

I once wrote a poem titled ‘STOP!’ and was reminded of it recently.

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I had a free day, except for needing to do one hours work and yet I’d been on the go since I got up at 6.30am. It was 2pm and I hadn’t stopped. I’d shopped at the local farmers market, then dropped my vegies home before heading straight out again to attend my weekly Qigong class. There I enjoyed 1.5 hours of gentle, mindful, relaxing moving meditation. Daily practice of qigong and weekly classes all year have helped me in my quest to learn how to STOP and be fully present in each moment. It’s helped me to notice how unrelaxed I feel most of the time, to consciously relax my body and mind and notice my surroundings.

After class I jumped in my car and headed off to tackle a list of ‘day off things to do’.

IMG_E1223By 1pm I had ticked 6 things off my list and even though there was more to do I was getting hungry. The water in the Brunswick river looked crystal clear and inviting but instead of a swim I headed home to make lunch so I could keep going.

Whilst preparing lunch I washed the dishes, started dinner preparations, emptied the compost bin, tried the cushion covers I’d found in Brunswick Heads on the couch and then washed and put them on the line to dry.

After eating lunch I paused at the sink and thought about what I should do next, my work or head out to do more shopping and errands?

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That’s when I heard, ‘Don’t just do something, stand there!’.

I recognised the voice of my inner guidance. I stopped and paused and remembered a poem I’d written 20 years ago when I was studying, called… ‘STOP!’. Curious, I went looking for it, finding it in a dust covered folder that contains my writing.

I sat on the couch on my tree hugged verandah and read:

STOP!

Pay a bill, buy some food, return that call

Until there is no time for me at all

Read, study, clean, shop

I go until I am about to drop!

 

STOP!

People ask, ‘and what do you DO?’

‘Well I’m not working, but I’m very busy’,

Sidestepping silent judgements…

from who?

 

Too much to do, time is a fool

I’ll stop when I’ve finished…what?

The thought of stopping scares me.

What if there is nothing there?

STOP! NOW!

 

Loosen up those expectations,

Run and jump and make mistakes.

Play with words, ideas and colour

Be spontaneous…JUST PLAY!

 

Skate on the ice, double back flips in the air

I can do anything in my imagination.

Beyond the illusion of toil and pain

Is the fun of life as a game.

 

Trees around me everywhere,

We converse with ease and flair.

I breathe out, they breathe in,

Blossoms dancing in the wind.

 

Sky above, so blue and clear,

Soaring birds who have no fear.

I lighten up and spread my wings

Life is full of exciting things!

 

I stand within the stillness of stopping.

Peace and joy permeate the space

I feel excitement, joy, the urge to create

Everything is possible…when I stop.

 

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I opened my journal and began to write.

Writing is something I enjoy, it gives me pleasure and insights that make navigating my life easier and yet I rarely ‘find time’ to do it. It’s always at the bottom of my ever present To Do list… along with meditation and drawing. All these activities enrich me, yet why do they not rate a higher priority than shopping for cushion covers or doing the dishes? Good question. Our society certainly values and rewards doing over being, visible results over unstructured time and self care. Why is it so? An answer came:

 

“Writing, drawing and meditation all require stepping into the unknown; stopping, opening up and listening. You enter into a dialogue where not all is known or understood. Fear of the discomfort this brings keeps you in the sphere of the known.  

Yet it’s by stepping into this place of dialogue and openness that new possibilities can emerge, new energy, new life, new creations.

Factoring in spaces for exploration allows you to create new things beyond the known and your limited understanding. Trust the process and you will be rewarded. Play time is essential for growth. “

 

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How can I overcome my resistance to prioritising play and ‘being’ time? Can I become comfortable being uncomfortable?

I was counselled by my wise inner voice to begin with 10 minutes of writing and meditation before bed each night, a time to be in a process of discovery and deep listening, not focussed on getting a result. What will I find ? I’m curious to find out. Perhaps that everything is possible…when I stop…and listen.

How about you? What helps you to stop ? What do you notice when you do?

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