Sunday, April 1, 2012

Doing Nothing Can Make A Difference

This morning, I opened the windows of the RV and sat on the couch, the light pouring in. For the better part of an hour, I remained there, appearing comatose. Some would call it, “doing nothing,” and I can’t disagree. I was, in fact, doing nothing, but at the same time, I was enjoying being fully present in the moment, a habit that takes time to establish, but makes a mighty big difference in how you view the world.

Through the window, I watched an old man walking his cocker spaniel. A child splashing water on her brother. I heard the chatter of neighbors as they leaned against the hood of a blue truck. I didn’t want to miss a thing.

Do you feel like you live on autopilot? You end up at a traffic light and don’t even remember getting there? You feel you lost a whole week, just like that?

I recall those busy days that seemed to never end. You leave home before dawn and return with nerves wound tight. Everybody’s hungry and looking at you to feed them. There’s homework and housework and no time to spare. Oh, for an hour alone for doing nothing.

But the good news is you don’t need long stretches of time for doing nothing. All you need are a few minutes and a made-up mind.

If you find yourself washing a few dishes tonight, slow down and imagine the warm, sudsy water is your private lake. Visualize yourself strolling around it, dipping your toes in it, laying beside it under the shade of a tree. It sounds ridiculously simple, even silly, but it works. A mini-vacation moment can feed your soul. Try it.

Tomorrow, as you go about your day, look for God’s gifts—a cloud playing peek-a-boo with the sun, a flower in bloom, a bird in flight, the wind on your face. At lunch, avoid eating indoors. If the weather is pleasant, get outside. Stroll around the building. Take a blanket and find a tree to sit under. See. Smell. Feel.

On the drive home, turn off the noise. Breathe deeply, in and out. Say a prayer. Hum a song. Quote a verse of Scripture. A bit of decompressing works wonders.

When all is said and done, life’s too short to let it go by in a blur. And while we can’t all up and quit our jobs, by consciously practicing being fully present in the moment, we not only change the color of our world from gray to glowing, we wash the scales from our eyes, and the plaque from our heart. Life flows in and out, richer and fuller than before.

Until next time, sweet friends, press on.


  1. Love this post, Dayle! This is so me - I was right with you on that couch taking it all in. I especially love the morning with my cats by the window watching the squirrel get into the feeders and the birds flitting about and my cats so delighted with it all. Fills my heart to watch these little ones doing just what they were designed to do.

    Hoping to recover some more time in this way as my working world trial has culminated and I am out of a very destructive job situation. Waiting on the Lord for it - He made the way and then some -though, not without some painful potholes.

    I will start later this month in a position created specifically for me by the county library as children's program coordinator - God did this - amazing! So happy to have my days back and slowing down to take it all in - and stir up the muse.


  2. Hi Dayle!
    Given what I posted yesterday, your message seems meant for me.... Eerie how God works in each of our lives, isn't it?
    In retrospect, there are probably too many of us out there, who've forgotten (or don't know how) to live in the moment. Yours is great advice!!!

  3. ~Vacation~
    It helps you reflect on some simple but huge ideas.
    We have benefited from your time away.
    Thank You!

  4. We had a motor home and enjoyed trips in it. When we would stay at a state park nearby, we read more and slept more. We also walked more. I get so busy here in my house that sometimes I don't take time to slow down. It's so good for us! Enjoy your time away!

  5. We called them mini-vacations, Chickie and me. Swinging on the porch swing sharing a home-made milkshake, taking pastries and hot chocolate to the neighborhood park for breakfast, "midnight" (aka after dark) walks....some of our best loved memories.
    And sitting and just being in the present, in His Omnipresence, in His extravagantly beautiful creation. Wonderful, important, Simple Pleasures!

  6. Oh I haven't been around to visit for a long time it seems, but when I saw your link over at Christine's, I was drawn to come and say hi.

    And I'm very glad I did. Your posting speaks to me muchly! As it seems that I have been experiencing a few too many of those auto-pilot moments of late.

    I'm usually pretty good at taking the moments as they come, and being aware of the beauty around me. But having taken on a part-time job with my hubby that has us getting up in the wee hours every morning, I never seem to get enough rest.

    However, I have been taking time these days to watch the coming and going of so many of our feathered friends as they are on the move north. They've found all our feeders and my, aren't they giving us the greatest of pleasures in watching them, as they feast on the bounty that Father has given to them via our hands.

    My stop here has been a mini-holiday... I'm so glad I came by!

    Wishing you even more glimpses of heaven in unexpected places!

  7. Today Wayne and I walked to the back of the property to the creek.... it was warm enough today that I crawled out on a rock and dipped my toes into the water.... everytime we are down there I mention... is this a glimpse of heaven??????
    Just being.... enjoying the world we have been blessed with, praising God for his love (today I even cried out to him as I learn to let go of my teenage son...)
    Thank you for sharing your quiet time....
    dee dee

  8. Just true words, Dayle! I try to do that as often as I can!

  9. Ah... Clearly your time doing "nothing" fed your creative soul. This is really beautifully written and even reading it has a little bit of a calming effect, if that makes sense.

    I remember those very, very hectic days. I remember when my husband looked at me and asked if we could just jump off the roller coaster that we had created. Sometimes, my flesh STILL tries to count my numbers, as it were, and remind me how much money we've sacrificed to jump off, but then I think of the sights and sounds I've enjoyed while choosing the slower ride instead, and it is well with my soul.

    Anyway, I loved this. I always do.

  10. We call your mini-vacation moments ~ pockets of pleasure.
    Thanks for the reminder . . .

  11. I may actually look forward to washing dishes later today!

  12. Sounds like you are still on the road. I agree that being in the moment, enjoying every part of your day, paying attention to what is going on around you, is a good thing. I love it. I'm enjoying my mini vacation. With my sprained ankle I am pretty much sidelined, so I am enjoying down time.

  13. Beautiful post--

    Looking for a quote to put on an art canvas last week, my son read this to me:

    Make every day a masterpiece--and I think that is exactly what this post is about--it may be one small moment that is encapsulated in a brain cell somewhere--yes, the dishwater can become a masterpiece--

    loved this, Dayle!

  14. My goal is to have a do nothing day this week! Thanks for encouraging!

  15. Lovely post, Dayle. Loved being reminded to live in the moment. Now I have to say, I never thought of the dishpan water as my own private lake but tonight I will! Take care and have many more "do nothing" moments! They are good for the soul! Susan

  16. Oh and to think I almost missed this. I LOVE it...and I just couldn't agree more. Mentioned something similiar in my post today as a matter of fact. After years and years of hetic, frantic living... something almost always going on, something important needing to be done, that it has made me feel guilty sometimes recently that life for me has slowed down soo much that almost everything I have to do is done at a leisurely pace anymore. I have plenty of times it seems to just "enjoy" the simple things this life has to offer now. I look around at so many people as they rush through their days that they are tied up in knots like you said by the end of it, and wonder "what for?" How I thank God for this season in my life, and wish I had taken more "moments" when I was younger. Your soo right, they are just good for the soul! HUGS

  17. Over the weekend I got a lovely rainbow photo on Guam. Breathtaking.

    I got in the back-back seat of the van (we were hosting guests) and my sweetie had laid a fragrant plumeria tree blossom on my seat. I slipped it above my left ear: MARRIED. Taken. Spoiled and cherished.

    "Need time alone?" an elderly woman told me as a new bride. "Go wash the dishes." She was right. I can pray, meditate, reflect on what's good with the world.

    "Doing nothing" is sometimes very Christ-like indeed. In those "do nothing" moments, these are the things I remember. Love is a many splendor thing.


Dear Readers, I adore your company and your comments. If you ask questions here, I respond to them here, so please check back when you have a chance. Kind regards, Dayle