No matter how chaotic, demanding, or plain bat-shit crazy my days get, I try to carve out space and time to do absolutely nothing. Depending on the day, I have conducted my moments of solitude in a public bathroom stall, a walk-in closet, an ice-covered hotel balcony in sub-zero weather, or locked in my car either without leaving the driveway or in the grocery store parking lot. In each case, I embrace silence. I listen to the world turn, notice that I am breathing and welcome the opportunity to hear myself think. Whether it is two minutes or five, when frostbite starts to claim my fingertips, or when the police officer taps on my window, I use those brief periods to hold on to my sanity. Hey, we can’t all be like Thoreau and hang out at Walden Pond, to commune with nature and contemplate our inner selves.
Disappearing, taking two steps back creates distance and perspective between the muck and me. It allows me to glimpse the horizon, enjoy the stillness, and exist. Pushing it all away changes me from a frantic, reactionary chicken without its head into a thoughtful individual who can imagine something new. It is not uncommon for a solution to magically appear. Or perhaps I recognize the maelstrom is a lot of fuss over an insignificant trifle.
It goes against every motivational mantra, but sometimes our best work emerges when we are not working. It seems like a foreign concept. How do we justify unplugging for a few hours, days, or even weeks, in a 24/7/365 wired up, hustle-junkie world? Perhaps the better question is can we afford not to unplug? Stepping away from external forces lets the deeper inner world blossom, and that is where creativity and meaning live. Our inner world is where our work takes its genesis, productivity explodes, and figments of our imagination become real.
Will you take two steps back today?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer