Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Don't just do something. Sit there."

I read this quote in a book this week, "Everyday Sacred" by Sue Bender. In it she tells a story of her husband's sabbatical year in which they traveled around the country and Europe without a plan, project or goal. At the end of the year, Sue observed her intelligent husband had somehow gotten smarter.

What had he done? Nothing.

I've observed this phenomenon working on my children, too.

My daughter, Caitlin, a professional singer and musician, has taken voice lessons since she was 15 years old. One year, she decided to take the summer off. When she went back, her voice teacher was amazed at how much her voice had grown. She was singing even better than before.

What had she done. Nothing.

My son, Kyle, a musician won several competitions in high school and taken lessons at a university since he was 16. When he entered college, he gave it all up. A few months ago at a party, he joined in with some friends on the drums. He picked up the sticks and played right along. They were amazed how well he played after 5 years 'off'.

What had he done. Nothing.

What did Caitlin, Kyle and Sue Bender's husband discover? That stopping, resting, sitting it out for a while isn't bad. It's good. Some times, it works like an invisible wand, magically making us even better than before.

Why, then, do we fight against it so hard? When sitting still is its own reward for our body, mind, spirit and creativity?

I don't know.
I do know this - here is where I can learn a lesson from my dog, Jilly.
She sits. Anytime. Anywhere. She always gets a reward, too.

Maybe that's the secret.


Patrick Gracewood said...

Sweet lesson, good writing. Now to practice it myself.

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Michael Turner said...

Yes, Patrick, practice is good but even you get a treat, too? Jilly finds it essential, maybe we all do?

Ruby's Raiser said...

Thank you for this post, I think this is something that I really needed to hear right now.

goldenbird said...

Cute post and so true. I once took a year sabbaatical off work and couldn't believe how sharp my mind was when I went back. (It's back to being mush again.) I read Sue Bender's book about Amish quilts years ago and loved it.