When you don’t know what to do, do nothing


What is required is actively doing nothing... 2
As mentioned previously, I recently quit my job of 7 years.

This had been a long time coming, since although I liked it there (at least most days), I’d become desperate for some time off, and it felt as though a long break was overdue.

As decisions go, it wasn’t very rational – reason would have dictated that I don’t quit my job without having a new one lined up. But since every cell in my body told me otherwise, I opted to check out and give myself time to basically unplug, stare at the wall a bit, then surround myself with nice things and nice people, and figure out what to do next.

If you’ve already made a decision on instinct rather than reason, you may be familiar with that feeling of floating – accompanied by a slight panic – that comes when you know you’ve made the right decision, but you still don’t know what to do next. Like you’re still expecting the rest of the guidelines.

Imagine following a trail of pebbles in the forest – you probably don’t see the end destination, and you may go through long periods of not finding the next pebble. At this point you’re better off slowing down until you find the next step.

This is rather what it feels right now.

To use another hackneyed metaphor: when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, it doesn’t just loses its tiny legs and grows a pair of wings. No, what happens is that every cell of the caterpillar dissolves inside the cocoon to form some sort of goo; which will in turn become a new being.

I currently feel in the goo phase. It’s a bit of a bummer, but rather than freaking out I’ve decided to make the most of it; if that’s how it works, then so be it.

Embracing nothingness is harder than you’d think – for me it means repeated efforts not to run around like a headless chicken, checking job listings all day (tempting), or binge-watching Netflix series (even more so).

It turns out for it to work, what is actually required is actively doing nothing – vacating yourself and your thoughts through whichever ways are available to you, meditating, walking, singing, whatever. That’s the only way you might hear answers from the tiny voice within.

For me what works is a long walk or dancing around my flat (though don’t tell anyone); baking or boxing or playing with your dog may do the trick for you. If you don’t know what does it for you, trying to figure it out will be time well spent.

At the moment though, I’m still looking for the next pebble.

I’ll keep you posted.