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What would happen if you stopped doing?

Happy 4th of July! For those of us in the United States, today is a day to celebrate independence - usually with family gatherings, BBQs, and fireworks.


I decided to celebrate by competing in a fun SUP-Athlon race in Georgetown in the morning, and plan to attend a soccer game with friends this evening. The game will be followed by one of Colorado's best fireworks shows.


Given that we are in the dog days of Summer, now is a good time to talk about the art of doing nothing. While I'm clearly not very good at this myself (given that I got up extra early this morning to go SUP, bike and run), it's something I'm working on improving.


In a recent newsletter I received from Tias Little, he said:


"Doing nothing gives you time and space to just be. For instance, you could do nothing on your walk and when you drive just drive, when you wash the dishes only wash. However for most of us, every single second gets gobbled up in doing --checking messages, listening to podcasts, texting friends, surfing the internet, eating while talking on the phone. Doing nothing is not only necessary for our mental health but likely necessary for our very survival as a species. So in the midst of your busy day, spend time not doing anything. Stand idle in your kitchen looking out the window, stand with open attention waiting in the grocery line, lay low with your feline or canine friend. Suspend time, linger long. Go off calendar, hang out with no agenda. As it is said in the Tao te Ching, 'by not doing, you achieve all things'."


If you're like me and need a little help to stop doing so much, check out the book How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell. The book serves as a guide to show us how we can drop out of the attention economy and win back our lives. She writes about our most precious and overdrawn resource, attention, and how we can bring more happiness into our lives by reimagining our roles.


People are experiencing loneliness more than ever. In her book Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time, Sheila Liming offers us the antidote. She presents hanging out as a way to build connection and community, and gives examples of how unstructured social time can be the key to a happier sense of self.


I'll be practicing the art of doing nothing this summer, so you might notice less events/offerings from Firefly over the next couple of months. I encourage you to kick back, hang out, just be, and do nothing today. Notice how that makes you feel. After all, we are human beings, not human doings.

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