Don’t just do something, sit there.

Yes, you probably read the headline of this blog the way you’re used to reading and hearing that phrase. So, gorgeous, I’ll say it again:

Don’t just do something, sit there.

If you’re like me, this phrase will land like a pebble in a still pond, creating ripples of questioning and softening. Because, if you’re like me, you’re used to thinking about this the other way around. Right?

We are trained, encouraged, to act. In fact, we live in such an adrenalized culture that it can feel weird and strange to put the brakes on, to actually take time to sit with the question—whatever it may be, to get help in finding the next right solution, to rely more on Spirit than we do on our quick thinking.

Getting sick is a really good way to learn this (luckily, it’s not the only way!)

I’m a well trained do-er. I grew up in Brooklyn and spent much of my life in New York City, where fast acting and fast thinking are prized survival attributes. In that world, thoughtful contemplation was scorned. Seriously. Have you ever walked down a crowded NYC street? Have you tried stopping, just stopping and standing still? If the stream of energy just parts around you, consider yourself lucky. More likely you get bumped and eye-rolled and maybe even hear a choice comment or two about how annoying you’re being.

That’s the energy that imbues life today, isn’t it? If you can’t relate to the big-city example, think about your connected life. The speed at which we think we’re supposed to respond to emails, or return phone calls. The on-the-spot decisions we’ve become used to making.

Well, I’ve retired from quick decisions, fast action, and immediate responses. And it took getting pretty sick for a long time for me to get to this place. It’s been nearly a year that I’ve had this physical challenge, and I’ve worked with quite a lot of practitioners and tried quite a lot of remedies and so far nothing has worked. All my best thinking, and the thinking and treatment offered by my loving, committed health network hasn’t been able to fix me.

A year is a long time to sit with something. In that time, I found that the only choice that offered me peace and sanity was to stop doing, to stop trying to solve the problem. If I let go of trying so hard to fix this, what’s left? Here are some of the ways you can do this:

  • Simply dwell in the mystery.
  • Accept what is with as much grace and gratitude as possible, living your best life moment by moment.
  • Spend time in meditation every day.
  • Increase your smiling time (try this: Smile every time you see your reflection in the mirror, one of the best and simplest practices I know).
  • Reach out and help someone else (this one is very, very important, a foolproof way to feel good in the moment).

An unexpected result of all this acceptance is strength. Huge strength. This physical project of mine has given me a preview of what might happen, or what it might be like, as my body continues to age. Worse disease might come. I might lose physical or cognitive ability. Who knows? What I do know is that I’ve already learned many tools that will serve me. I may not yet have a black belt in acceptance, but I might qualify for a green. Or a brown. (I don’t even know how belt rankings go; I’m making this up. I’ve practiced t’ai chi for almost 40 years—no belts.)

I haven’t given up. I continue to take the next right action. And the one after that. But I’m doing that from a more spacious and loving place.

You don’t have to get sick to learn this. Just slow down. I promise you, each time you practice Don’t just do something, sit there, you build a foundation that will strengthen you when times are tough, when hard decisions need to be made, when challenges arise, when you are handed a big loss. Here are three good ways to implement this practice:

Scenario 1: You have a tough decision to make.

Draw a line down the center of two pieces of paper. Light a candle. Write down your Yes/No question at the top of each page. An example: “Should I take the job?” The columns on one page are the pros and cons of Yes. And on the other page the pros and cons of No. (You’ll be surprised; they are not always mirror answers.) Connect with spirit, ask for guidance and write. When you’re done, tape the two sheets on the wall, and look at them a few times over the next couple of days. You can share them with a friend. The decision should come into clearer focus.

Scenario 2: You want to respond to something a loved one said that hurt you and you can feel how negative your response will be if you open your mouth in this moment.

After connecting with spirit, write the response as a letter (yes, love, with pen on paper) and mail it to yourself. The day or two it will take for the letter to come back to you to be reread is ample time for your emotions to cool and for you to rewrite the response so that it’s more certain to come from your big loving heart. If you still feel turmoil, sleep with the letter under your pillow for a night or two.

Scenario 3: You’re craving some food that you know won’t support your health.

Take a walk around the block. Or do something else for a half hour, and then lovingly and gently check back with yourself. You might find the craving has gone.

I’d like to know how this lands for you. What do you do to stay in this moment instead of rushing into action? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

New Moon blessings to you…

The New Moon, at 22º Libra, is on Monday, at 5:03 am Pacific. The ideal time to lean into this sweet and light New Moon energy will be the three days straddling the New Moon moment. [Doing the math in my head. Okay. Got it!] Anytime, precious, between Saturday 5pm Pacific to Tuesday 5pm Pacific is the New Moon window.

Take some time to set an intention. Bring the best qualities of Libra energy to mind: thoughtfulness, fairness, sensitivity, and willingness to really listen to others’ point of view. Libra is ruled by Venus, and Venus brings love and the power to attract. Venus energy is patient, and prepared, and with her powerful magic, she lives into and manifests her desire. What is your desire? What is your loving, balanced and juiciest intention?

In your ritual time, during the New Moon window, write your intention on a beautiful piece of paper. Light your candle. After a few minutes of meditation, or singing, or sacred movement, burn your paper in a metal bowl or cauldron (be safe, please!). Go outside in the darkness, and scatter the ashes of your intention in your garden, on the path leading to your doorway, or somewhere else that has meaning for you. Trust that your intention is being received by Spirit and by your own deepest most loving heart and soul. And as the light begins to return, as the Moon waxes again in the next cycle, bring light and action to your desire and intention.

What are you doing to mark this New Moon?

Please let me know in the comments. Love and blessings!

 

There are some spaces coming open in my coaching program. Are you ready, gorgeous, to find out how to align every aspect of your business with your heart’s mission and soul’s purpose? Don’t have your own business yet, but want to bring more of your thoughts, words and actions into balance with your best and highest? Reach out and schedule a Discovery Session. My gift to you…

 
Photo credit: Ripples from my own collection of stock photos, and the crowd shot from Gothamist.
 

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Sue

I’m a barely tamed hippie, sage, seasoned, sarcastic (not all the time any more, but still). I’m a mom, a daughter, sister, a neighbor, and a friend. I’ve been on this meandering journey — like you, probably — seeking a better connection to and experience of peace, harmony, and fun in every bit of life. I’m single, quite good at it, and mostly love it. I’m here for the conversations I get to have with you, which these days center on exploring the mystery and beauty of life, work, health, aging, and creative expression. Want to know a little more about me and my journey? Explore the site. Read the blog. Connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Join the conversation!

  1. Sue, this was so beautifully written and offered, thank you. A key theme for me as well, and yet still at times it’s easier to espouse it than to live it and let it work its unique magic in my life. Open heartedness is often a more receptive than active mode, and silence, stillness and mindfulness are the best ways to cultivate it. Lovely…
    sharon@heartofselfcare.com

  2. Hi Sue:  I needed this reminder today.  Most days my to do list blazes a busy path.  Lately I am taking more time to pause, to breathe and to be. With gratitude, Tanya

  3. Thank you, Sue, for this lovely New Moon ritual.
    The power of slowing down is unimaginable until you’ve done it. I got a big dose of that a couple of winters ago, also through sickness. Being absolutely incapable of doing anything but remaining horizontal teaches big surrender.It seems, in people I talk with, that there is a fear of allowing the not doing. “Well, you can’t just…” It’s often very squirmy when I ask, “Why not?”. I know that fear well. “What if I just end up sitting around doing nothing for the rest of my life?” LOL.
     
    Stillness brings into focus what we really want to do. So lovely. This dovetails nicely with Jane’s post regarding permission.Best of Saturday’s to you.
    CJ

    • @ChristiJarland1 Christi, thanks for taking the time to comment. The people you touch with your loving “why not?” are lucky indeed. Talk about ripples in a still pond.
      Love!
      Sue

  4. I love your post and have been taking that path for a few days now, just sitting there. Its so interesting to listen to the chitter chatter and watch the thought train even if I don’t board. After working non stop for weeks on a new project I slept for the first time in ages during the day on Friday then did not very much on sat as i was physically exhausted. Usually my indicators are I start banging my head – my angels getting my attention , telling me to take notice and slow down. Its so vital to health to listen to the early warning signs which we often ignore and only once we’re forced to stop do we notice the sequence that lead us to that point. taking time to breathe and enjoy the moment rather than planning the next one. I always smile to myself in the mirror, it was a precious gift my aunt shared with me when I was around 7 and I’ve used it ever since.
    wishing you a magical sunday Mary

    • @MaryJoyce_ How lucky you ‘ve had so much practice smiling at yourself. It’s such a lovely practice! I feel it creating softening in me in deep and profound ways.
       
      Love!
      Sue

  5. Sue, this post is so close to my heart…I’m a week into my self-stalking project of just watching and noticing and loving. I’ve been stuck in a sick way for a while and boy oh boy was my need to fix things wearing me out! It never ceases to amaze me how much stuckness just evaporates when we apply acceptance. Its a truly beautiful practice and a heart shell cracking open one too.
    For this new moon my intention is to bring Venus/Libra energy to having reconnected with my little girl after ten years apart. Patience, lovingness, and acceptance play into how this goes from here, bigtime. Her parents (my aunt and uncle) have been incredibly resistant and judgmental toward me having anything t do with her all along but I’ve been clean almost 2yrs now and my “little girl” is almost 15. I’m going to do some quiet sitting with the mystery of what this changes for the both of us…this reconnection. Thank you for this post, beautiful 🙂 very timely.
    Love + Light
    Brandi

    • @BrandiHarrigan Hi Brandi, I’m so glad this is helpful as you move through this powerful re-connection with your beloved daughter. Sending lots of love and healing to you.
       
      Blessings,
      Sue

  6. Thank you, Sue. This post is so encouraging. As I was rushing through my to-do list this morning, I was inspired to check in at the Goddess Circle and am so glad I did because it led me to your post here. I especially appreciate your tips on implementing the practice–I think I just might give that letter-writing a try.

    • Jessica, I’m so glad it landed for you. Please let me know how it goes with the letter technique; I love how it adds time between impulse and action.
       
      Love and light,
      Sue

  7. Funnily enough, I was just thinking today about unhealthy cravings and waiting 10 minutes…i’ll make it half an hour and see what happens!  Thanks for reiterating the message so I really hear it!  x

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