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Exercise in Downtime

Last Sunday we went for a walk at this park in St Petersburg. Then after that we went to a nearby outdoor café and met some friends for dinner. The whole afternoon and evening was an exercise in downtime.

I look forward to the downtime of the weekend. That’s when I get recharged for the week ahead. But truth be told I’m not that good at it; doing nothing that is. But doing nothing is just as necessary as breathing in. I think of what I do most of the week as an out breath, a hundred little acts of creation. So whether I’m good at disengaging or not, it’s still necessary.

I’ve even started to practice doing nothing. That sounds like a joke but its not. In the morning I just sit still for ten minutes. It’s a way of training myself to disengage. The idea is to be comfortable with it and carry that into other parts of the day or week. I’m so used to doing things that something as simple as sitting without a cellphone or book is a challenge. But I’m getting better at it even though I have a ways to go.

I’ve challenged myself to do things my whole life, but it never occurred to me that downtime was so important. Now that I know that, I can practice it. The whole thing sounds completely backwards. I just have to do nothing about it. Okay, that one was a joke.

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