Jan 30, 2011

7 The Complexity of “Doing Nothing”


There are times when “doing nothing” is appropriate. This appropriateness can have multiple meanings. It can mean backing off and allowing someone to grow as an individual even though you want to jump in and save the day; the giving of time and space in a relationship waiting for things to settle, tempers to calm before revisiting a particular touchy conversation or the possibility of reconciliation at which hopefully cooler heads has prevails and clarity and perspective has entered into the equation; the acceptance of significant changes that has reshaped the foundation of a relationship or the letting go of relations and associations that has run its course.

Other times the appropriateness of “doing nothing” can be painfully debilitating and soul crushing because of the pervasive helplessness that comes as a result of not being able to do anything physically, financially or verbally that could change the landscape of any given situation you are facing or help transform its circumstances. The only real requirement is to be there, to continually show up, be supportive by the mere act of your presence, to sit quietly, to hold a hand, to read a book, to laugh uproariously uninhibited, to sing a song, to speak endlessly about something, nothing and everything.

Each complexity of “doing nothing” requires enormous inner strength, discipline, self-control, requiring us to be compassionate, considerate and a wee bit altruistic i.e. selfless setting aside the ego which by no stretch of the imagination an easy task because it requires us to not look for the benefits i.e. a payback to ourselves for the giving of ourselves, to not make it about the “I”, the me, me, me, me and what “we” want/can get out of that moment or situation. This can be challenging.

I find that lately I have been challenged by this pervasive sense of helplessness because I wish I can wave a wand and have my friend’s daily pain with health challenges go away or offer solutions that would reduce her struggle significantly. I am frustrated by what I feel like my inability to really do anything that would ease her constant agonizing aches which she manages remarkably well I might add. I am also cognizant that to dwell to long in this frame of thinking is to make it about me, about what I can and cannot do and frankly sometimes the situation just requires one to show up and be there and understand that in doing so it is enough even though it may feel woefully inadequate.

What I have learned is to be patient with myself, to be open and ready and to do what you can in whatever capacity you can and know that it is enough. To ask “is there anything I can do for you?” “What can I do for you know?” And have the person let you know how best you can help. Sometimes helping them may mean supporting their loved ones, family members struggling to cope, to come to terms with the situation and sometimes it may mean just being there even if you have nothing to say or do because your presence says and means everything even when you think it’s too little.

Helping can mean so many things and cannot be confined to material things, or defined simply with the corporealness of doing things. Helping is everything imaginable and unimaginable and when you are at a lost as to what to do, just ask – what can I do for you today and be willing to follow through, rise up and be present.

Have a blessed day. Please sign my GUESTBOOK.

Graphic in this post called ‘white factual angel wings’ is by shadoweddancer


  1. Good Sunday RB,

    Yes, it has been awhile. Good to be able to come here and spend some time to read. Very timely I might add too…

    You be well and stay warm up north of the border…Greg

  2. Very well written. I too know the many meanings of 'doing nothing.'

  3. All well said Rhapsody. I am a master at doing nothing as in a mode of being a lump and not being productive at all. That is my mission for today.

  4. I know doing nothing day we have had in ourtimes but I would like to do to help our family members or my an old friends that she has been not well.
    After that I can have doing nothing totally:-)

  5. Sometimes doing nothing is doing a lot, to just sit or lie and concentrate on your breathing you are doing a lot ....you are resting your mind, you are slowing your heart rate, you are lowering your blood pressure, and you are totaly relaxing
    Enjoy doing nothing don't feel guilty for doing it

  6. I wish I could do nothing. I want to :(

  7. Sometimes, the greatest gift that you can give someone if the gift of your total attention and assuring them that you are there for the 'long haul'... if anything, for support. You are far from helplesss. "...Always keep your spirits up, Never let your heart go low. You have a massive inner strength With all you are, and all you know..."


You Are Enough. Right here, Right now, In this moment, YOU. ARE. ENOUGH!

By All Means Speak Your Mind. However, Please Observe These 3 Basic Rules.

1. No form of abuse is allowed, everyone is entitled to their point of view (pov) as we all see and articulate the world differently, be respectful and speak without offending.

2. Please stay on the topic of discussion

3. Agree to Disagree

So what say you?

Note: All content here are mine unless otherwise noted. All photographs are taken by me again, unless otherwise noted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...