Day 03: Accomplishing Nothing

I accomplished literally nothing today.

Outside my windows, shades of dusk are telling me that Saturday evening is here and that I have nothing to show for it.

I haven’t bought a couch, built a website, or written anything good. I haven’t even made my bed, cleaned my kitchen, or paid my rent. Sometime after lunch I opened my email for a few minutes, scrolled past the unread messages, and then took a nap.

///

Remember what I told you a few days ago, about how becoming human means unlearning the lie that we are the sum of how much we can produce or accomplish?

Sometimes the only way to unlearn that shit is to accomplish literally nothing and still look at the dusk outside your window and say, “It was a good day.”

///

Can I tell you what I did while I was busy accomplishing nothing?

I noticed the way the morning sunlight brushed the side of my face while I refused to get out of my bed long after I’d been awake.

I noticed the sound of leaves scratching against pavement as the October breeze pushed them down the sidewalk.

I noticed the warmth of the coffee mug in my hands.

I noticed the moon hanging out with the clouds, bright white against a perfectly blue sky. It was noon. “Go home and go to bed,” I said to the moon. “It’s not your turn to be awake.”

The moon said nothing.

///

In one of my favorite poems, Mary Oliver writes:

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

This is what I have accomplished today.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

October in Minnesota means that fall is at the peak of her pure saphire-sky glory. But by the time the month ends, it will be winter here.

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Read it again. It’s not asking for to-do lists and productivity and crushing your goals.

It’s inviting us to pay attention. To be aware. To notice the sunlight and the sound of leaves and the moon who refuses to go to bed on time.

It’s telling us that some days, like today, we will accomplish literally nothing.

And still it will be enough.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Day 03: Accomplishing Nothing

October 3, 2015 | 2 minute read

becominghuman

I accomplished literally nothing today.

Outside my windows, shades of dusk are telling me that Saturday evening is here and that I have nothing to show for it.

I haven’t bought a couch, built a website, or written anything good. I haven’t even made my bed, cleaned my kitchen, or paid my rent. Sometime after lunch I opened my email for a few minutes, scrolled past the unread messages, and then took a nap.

///

Remember what I told you a few days ago, about how becoming human means unlearning the lie that we are the sum of how much we can produce or accomplish?

Sometimes the only way to unlearn that shit is to accomplish literally nothing and still look at the dusk outside your window and say, “It was a good day.”

///

Can I tell you what I did while I was busy accomplishing nothing?

I noticed the way the morning sunlight brushed the side of my face while I refused to get out of my bed long after I’d been awake.

I noticed the sound of leaves scratching against pavement as the October breeze pushed them down the sidewalk.

I noticed the warmth of the coffee mug in my hands.

I noticed the moon hanging out with the clouds, bright white against a perfectly blue sky. It was noon. “Go home and go to bed,” I said to the moon. “It’s not your turn to be awake.”

The moon said nothing.

///

In one of my favorite poems, Mary Oliver writes:

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

This is what I have accomplished today.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

October in Minnesota means that fall is at the peak of her pure saphire-sky glory. But by the time the month ends, it will be winter here.

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Read it again. It’s not asking for to-do lists and productivity and crushing your goals.

It’s inviting us to pay attention. To be aware. To notice the sunlight and the sound of leaves and the moon who refuses to go to bed on time.

It’s telling us that some days, like today, we will accomplish literally nothing.

And still it will be enough.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

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