“I’ve noticed that it’s become easy to do nothing lately.”
These words took effect this afternoon while Cindy and I were driving back from the pizza shop with our Saturday “cheat.”
For months, possibly even years, it has been an awareness I only paid half attention too. As far back as maybe a decade ago, I had become aware that occasionally I would relish the idea of actually “doing nothing” as if that alone were an accomplishment. I would contemplate the options of “maybe tomorrow I will do absolutely nothing?”
Tomorrows come and todays go and before too long what started out as an unavoidable down time, crisis only option (due to illness or injury) shifted to willful decision. I would stay home, watch a movie, play a video game, or scroll randomly through vintage footage of concerts, history documentaries, or scientific extrapolations on what, why, when, how, where, and who. To some, this is “doing something.” In regard to an end result or specific goal of actually accomplishing something – the highest score or fleeting knowledge of trivia – my “doing nothing” produces the same.
Let me define my understanding of “doing nothing.” To me, doing nothing means that in place of doing something that can, should, or needs to be done, one simply does anything but.
To the bold-faced seeker of meaning, the reality of doing the things described above, may in fact be “somethings” each and every one. Granted, doing nothing itself is actually doing something right?
Do not discount the benefit of mindless distraction or enjoyable relaxation. One recipe of good heath is rest, exercise, and eating healthy. Volumes of data, debate, and proclamation stand ready to service your needs in these areas. But here is the problem with all this.
Doing nothing in the sense of leaving unattended a wider and larger portion of life’s responsibilities soon becomes more than just chill time. It leads to crisis.
Objects degrade, function declines, or conditions adapt to unsustainable proportions of endurance and stamina to perform basic tasks of life. Now things have become a mess. Just recently I used that phrase to describe the discovery of how to do something new with ease, “That was as easy as making a mess.” It stands to reason that the 2nd easiest thing to do, besides nothing, is make a mess.
When weighing the outcomes of a given situation using the choice of doing nothing, compared to doing something with effort, hard work and attention, well, it is pretty obvious where the more positive resolution will exist. What healthy adult does not want a positive solution? Just look at the world today; look at the potential all around you for positive outcomes. Generalized in the world I bet there are millions of people going to bed every night hoping for just such a change. Yet how many are doing nothing?
I once went to see a speaker with very well established charitable efforts already existing in the treatment of the sick and poor. He had founded a free hospital and named it Gesundheit. His question to the group of attendees was “What are you doing?” There is always something that can be done to help others.
During one of my afternoon web scrolling marathons, I came upon an interview with Suzanne O’Brien RN who had started a group of End of Life Doulas. She was discussing the growing interest for more personalized control over the outcome of how we are coping and preparing for mortality. She teaches hope of peaceful surroundings and thoughtful arrangements for the often overlooked tasks of caring for a dependent loved one while their journey ends here with us. In addition to the professional guidance of a hospice, palliative medicine team, specialist, or family practitioner, trained Doulas educate, demonstrate and advocate for the care of patients, family and caregivers. Special lighting, music, and chosen items arranged in almost sacred tenderness, aid possible relief of symptoms that may occur. Suzanne’s doulagivers.com™ have become a worldwide network of loving hearts, “doing something.”
The basics of care for your loved one, friend, or client are detailed and offered for free. After reviewing the material Doulagivers™ provide, I eagerly joined and have become certified as a Level 3 Doula. Originally I had found this group by a desire to advance my own skills as an RN with end of life symptom management.
Now I wish to share this knowledge in hopes of helping those who do not wish to allow the “mess” that “doing nothing” can create.
In addition to our Elephant in the Room conversation guide elephant-inthe-room.org caringchoices.org Caring Choices offers experience and compassion within the complexities of dealing with death. Don’t let “nothing” stand in your way. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Just think about it. Knowing you’re safe and accepted for your wishes can lessen anxiety and stress. Knowing everyone around you is prepared brings peace of mind and comfort. Appreciation of the love makes the loss more palpable and even visceral, but is life at its fullest when facing the unknown absence of it? We comfort each other our whole lives.