The Importance of Doing No Thing


Lake Champlain looking toward the Adirondack Mountains.

Many many moons ago, my aunt and I went on a retreat located on beautiful Lake Champlain (on the Vermont side).  The purpose was to get away – to shut off the phones and computers – to remove ourselves from the every day family and work stresses.  It was a weekend to do no thing.

  • No cooking
  • No cleaning
  • No kids
  • No traffic
  • No TV or internet (fer real!)
  • No distractions
  • No Thing

It was quiet time in the country.  The only call to action was to let you know when meals were prepared, which was nice to break bread with others of all ages seeking a weekend of quiet solitude and contemplation.  Being administered by nuns, there was of course a daily call to worship.  Mind you, these were all optional functions.

Today was one of those “retreat” days: too humid to paint, no yard work due to thunderstorms — Housework…  Okay, yeah, that can be done but it’s not going anywhere, right?

Bag it!  I’m doing no thing today.

Which is actually a misnomer because I’ve set aside the things I ought to be doing and did things I wanted to:

  • Writing this, for examplehairhurts
  • Taking pictures of the next article
  • Crocheting a few more rows
  • Getting caught up on email, FB and, Candy Crush!
  • Drawing that masterpiece on the right >>>
  • Making yet another list of priority items…  Like, you can run to the neighbors and ask for a cup of sugar but do you really ever want to ask for a roll of toilet paper?  Naw, I didn’t think so.

Okay, so beyond FB and Candy Crush literally turning my brain to goo, I’ve managed to settle on a few ideas that will be tackled once I decide to stop doing no thing.

The point of this whole message today is this:  There is always some thing to do.  Just remember to do something for YOU.  Unless a water pipe bursts or the ceiling comes crashing down, remember to take a little “me” time.  It recharges your batteries – gets you focused on your next project – keeps you sane – and gives your body a much needed break.  Don’t wait until your body shuts down for you!  Getting sick is the pits.

If you don’t believe me then maybe you’ll listen to some of these people.  They are smarter and more wise than I:

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” – Etty Hillesum writer of “An Interrupted Life”

Her diaries and letters were published posthumously and documented her life on Germany occupied Amsterdam from 1941 – 1943.

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.” – William S. Burroughs

He was an essayist, spoken word performer and American novelist who happened to be good friends with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.

Life should be touched, not strangled. You’ve got to relax, let it happen at times, and at others move forward with it.” – Ray Bradbury

Author of sci-fi, mystery, horror and fantasy, he is probably best known for the title, “Fahrenheit 451.”

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” – Jean Shinoda Bolen

Psychiatrist and author, Ms. Bolen shares her theories on the importance of the mind-body-spirit connection.


Lake Lindsey (2015) Photograph by Meredith Loughran

And now that the storms have passed – I’m going to enjoy this sunset!

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3 Responses to The Importance of Doing No Thing

  1. Angie says:

    Great advice – I would love to take a retreat such as you mentioned above. I’m not sure I’d be able to shut my mind off to a quiet hum, though…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meredith L. says:

      I admit the first half day of the retreat I felt a bit awkward because I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. Sitting by the lake, hiking the woods, enjoying a few kidless days… it didn’t take me long to get acclimated. LOL


  2. Linda Loughran says:

    Peace be with you, Mere.

    Liked by 1 person

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