The Lost Art of Doing Nothing

The trek is still 7 months away. I went to the doctor on Friday to see whether I could book in for my jabs. He told me to return in August. I then picked up my training schedule which started at “16 weeks before the trek”; again I was left feeling premature and also bereft, because I like to feel as though I am always progressing by working towards my goals. Meanwhile, Storm Dennis raged outside my little London flat, with nearly incessant rainfall pattering against the windows to the soundtrack of howling high winds. I was left with few options but to accept that all I could do this weekend was nothing.

At first I railed: I genuinely felt outraged that I couldn’t be proactive and tick things off my proverbial list. In a fit of pique I messaged a friend saying that this almost felt like self-sabotage, to which she responded that she had (guilt free) slept in until late, and that sometimes it is good to be unproductive rather than to punish ourselves for not measuring up to standards of productivity which are external constructs rather than real measures of success. ‘Balance’, she advised. ‘Be.’

This state has never come naturally to me: I have always been jealous those who could nap of an afternoon to an almost resentful extent. I meditate every morning but have never truly been able to transcend a true silence; nor can I relish an opportunity to be alone with myself in the way that a French woman can take herself out for dinner and indulge in every last morsel of the experience. I was neither made nor conditioned that way.

For some reason my friend’s advice resonated with me and instead of dismissing it as something I cannot do or be, I decided to explore this concept and this side of myself with a detached curiosity. I identified that it was guilt I was feeling about doing nothing, and that this could only be a result of social conditioning, as the only person I am ever accountable to is myself. I recognised that I could actively choose not to propagate these feelings and by doing so, I could let go of a part of myself that is constantly striving to prove myself, to succeed. I gave myself permission to just be. I allowed my mind to wander, and once I did so, it stopped feeling so uncomfortable and I was able to relish in my free afternoon.

When I started this blog I wrote that every physical journey is an opportunity to journey inwards, because I knew that by accepting the Trek Nepal challenge that it would be a chance to gain self-awareness and learn about my authentic being. This has been my first real lesson.

I am putting the link to my JustGiving page at the end of every post – if you have enjoyed reading and would like to sponsor me, then you can do so here (but absolutely no pressure if you just want to check out the content!). Please copy and paste the link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/katesnepaltrek

Love,

Kate

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