Ten Seconds of Spaciousness

10 seconds.

That was all my client needed to hear to start shifting her mindset and easing her doubts and worries.

Her social conditioning did not allow her to take time for herself or do something that was not obviously attached to an accomplishment or for the benefit of others.

Just 10 seconds gave her permission to at least explore something outside her current norm. Instead of losing herself in worry that taking care of her needs has no tangible outcome or might be seen as lazy, luxurious or even selfish by others, she now can start finding out what is good for her.

The only “task” I added to her 10 seconds was to observe afterwards how these 10 seconds affect her. When she was ready to expand the practice, the next step became “for the length of just one song, I allow myself to…”

Doing nothing is still doing

In a world where everything is measured by accomplishments, has to have a purpose, or is timed by a habit app or a step tracker etc. doing nothing or just for fun absolutely sounds like a luxury or an indulgence.

What we forgot is that doing nothing is an action in itself. You just need to read the instruction carefully: doing nothing.

When we allow ourselves to do nothing—wander aimlessly, dream over a cup of coffee, watch the grass grow—we recharge our batteries, connect with our surroundings, expand our space for seeing, listening and thinking, and support our creative problem solving with much less effort and worry…. most of the time even faster.

Müßiggang / Spacious Moments

In German we have a noun for doing nothing: Nichtstun (the Dutch call it Nixen). Though there is another German word Müßiggang that I personally like even more. It is somewhat old-fashioned and took on a connotation of laziness or uselessness, just as my client experienced above. However, the origin describes something different: Müßig (pronounced like ‘mystic’ without the t) stems from “Muße”, which means free time and the inner peace to do something that you enjoy. Gang stems from walking/moving. Combined, the word actually points out that there is a lot of movement in being müßig. You also can see the similarity to “muse” and “amuse”— both encourage curiosity and creativity, which almost always lead to problem solving.

Your turn…

For just __________ [ a cup of coffee / a walk / a song / the time waiting in line ], I allow myself to be müßig by ____________.

What little helper or container do you need to start your first step of exploring what is good for you?

Nicole is a creative leadership coach and speaker who empowers women to transform limiting beliefs and bring their lives and careers to new heights.

Photo by Brooke Campbell on Unsplash