Warning: naughty language ahead!
I was deep in a Pinterest binge the other night and ran across a quote that hit a nerve in me:
“I am not a Do-Nothing Bitch.”
At first I was sort of inspired—the whole idea seemed bad-ass and empowering. Ronda Rousey, a female mixed martial artist, coined the term and used it to defend herself against critics who slammed her for looking “too masculine.” Reading it in context, I found her words motivating.
But seeing it plastered solo on my screen, I became bothered. It felt like a dangerous catchphrase, another reason for me to feel like I’m not doing enough, being enough.
It seems these days that if we aren’t moving forward at the fastest pace possible, we are failures. Life has become synonymous with doing, accumulating and achieving. Being exhausted, overworked and undernourished has become our badge of honor. We spend our days hoping others will acknowledge and congratulate us on all we have accomplished—even if it’s slowly killing us.
I’m guilty of it too. When someone asks how I’m doing, tired and busy are my go-to responses.
But what I’ve learned recently is there are times in our lives when we’re meant to move and times when we’re meant to stand still.
I’m not talking about becoming stagnant or refusing to participate in my life. I’m talking about redirecting my energy away from ego (which demands I stay distracted) and straight towards soul (which encourages me to wake up). Instead of grand gestures meant to impress others, I need to spend quiet time discovering what impresses me.
I’ve never been big into horoscopes and usually read them for fun instead of fact. But for the past few months, my horoscopes have been creepily on point. And every single one has made it very clear that this is not the time for monumental decisions and life-changing choices. This is the time for sitting still and doing nothing.
So I decided stop the glorification of busy and embrace my do nothing-ness.
Sometimes this involves spending 20 minutes in savasana. And sometimes I sit in meditation or cry in the shower or drive alone with the music at an obnoxious volume. Other times I nap or binge-watch Netflix or sit on the couch daydreaming.
It is in these times that I can hear myself.
It is when I am still and quiet and doing things that bring me peace that I can acknowledge the questions I have about my life. And if I’m really still, sometimes I hear an answer.
But staying still and turning inward are not easy tasks, particularly when we have been enculturated to feel shame for “doing nothing.”
So when I need to give myself permission to take my mind and body off autopilot, these are the quotes I look to:
1. “Do you have the patience to wait until your mud settles and the water is clear?” ~ Lao Tzu
2. “We spend most of our time and energy in a kind of horizontal thinking. We move along the surface of things…but there are times when we stop. We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or its memory. We listen, and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.” ~ James Carroll
3. “Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” ~ Plato
4. “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.” ~ Jim Carrey
5. “At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
6. “There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.” ~ Sarah Dessen
7. “When we run from silence, we run from ourselves.” ~ Michael Jeffreys
8. “Sometimes, we need to set a goal. And sometimes, we need to sit still and let God and our goals find us.” ~ Wendy Ulrich
9. “You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” ~ Franz Kafka
10. “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom
11. “It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” ~ Henry David Thoreau
12. “All human evil comes from a single cause—man’s inability to sit still in a room.” ~ Blaise Pascal
13. “It is indeed a radical act of love just to sit down and be quiet for a time by yourself.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
14. “To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.” ~ Deepak Chopra
15. “Be easy, take your time. You are coming home to yourself.” ~ Nayyirah Waheed
I don’t always have to be hustling or going for broke. I don’t have to allow myself to become a stressed out, hyper-focused, do-everything robot.
I can sit. I can breathe. I can take my time.
I can be still and let go.
And if that makes me a “Do-Nothing Bitch,” so be it.
I’ll wear that badge proudly.
Author: Nicole Cameron
Editor: Caroline Beaton
Photo: Lauren McKinnon/Flickr