Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Take A Risk Tuesday: Do Nothing

    You may scoff that it isn't a risk to do nothing. I would argue that in our hurry-here-finish-this-check-this-off-do-more-culture, it most certainly is. The risk lies in our fear that we are missing something, we're not good enough or that we're behind. 

   Last Saturday, I went to my grandson Dylan's first Pee Wee Flag Football game. (Say that 3-times fast) The kids looked so cute in their little uniform tee-shirts running up and down the field. They're only six and for most of them this is a new sport. I've been attending kids sports events for almost 25 years. During that time I've noticed one thing that never seems to change. There are always a few parents that forget what it was like to be a child and seek to suck every ounce of fun out of the sport. "Nathan, pay attention! " "Focus, focus, focus!" Seriously? Don't get me wrong, I totally believe in parents supporting their kids. My idea of support is more like, "Way to go Dylan!" "Good job" and "Good try, maybe next time." What happened to letting kids, be kids. There's plenty of time for them to learn skills.

     So, what does this have to do with doing nothing? Everything. We, especially American's, have a hard time being in the moment. We're always so busy thinking of the next project, the next race or the next raise, that we rarely enjoy where we are. Don't misunderstand, goals are important and it's great to have something we are working for but not at the expense of being in the now. 

    I've been watching the Le Tour de France. Talk about grueling. Cyclists almost always say that to succeed in the tour you have to be present. You can't be thinking about tomorrows stage or yesterday's mistakes, you have to pay attention to the now.

    Rock climbers hanging precariously off vertical cliffs all agree that in the midst of a climb they have to concentrate on their current step. If you worry about where you've been or what's around the next cliff you take the chance of being distracted and could lose your footing. One climber said,"It is that singleness of purpose that closes out all the other voices, that is why I climb." 

Basically, in order to do what they do best they have to empty their minds and be in the moment.  For writers, this is even more important. Our "moments" are those quiet times that we allow our minds to open. We can't have our minds full of clutter. In order to tap into our imagination we have to slow down. Walking is one way I can find that place. These walks aren't concerned with pace or burning calories. In this way they are more like wanderings, time and destination is irrelevant. In these quiet moments the imagination is free to come out and play. This is art. This is creation.

Now, I'm going to say good-bye and do nothing...


  1. I enjoy watching my children be children. It puts a smile on my face, and I know their childhood will be over in a flash.

  2. I love doing nothing and I think it's totally risk, considering all the guilt that might follow.

  3. It is upsetting to see parents get mad at their kids at sporting events. I don't even like it when adults do it at pro games. "Singleness of purpose." I like that. I tend to fly in all directions and have to center myself and prioritize each day.

  4. Doing nothing is hard to do. I always feel so guilty. Yet I consider it a luxury to just go read for an hour or so. But I suppose that's still doing something.

  5. Yeah, I have a hard time doing nothing, because I always have so many things on my goals list.

    If you get a chance, check out a fellow writer's zombie story and help me make him wear an embarrassing shirt next year! Details are here:


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