I recently had a week of down time. Even though I was taking classes in something I enjoy, I was away from my daily routine. I was also away from my computer (although I did check email on my phone). I spent a good portion of time just hanging out. I finished a book that I've been wanting to read for a week and made a dent in another book on my to read list. While I didn't get a lot of sleep while away, I came back feeling refreshed.
There's something special about unwinding and being in a state of peacefulness that calls for being rather than doing. A change of scenery isn't even necessary. Enjoying some down time could be as simple as powering down the cell phone and other electronics (including the TV) and filling the hours with silence (and, if you're like me, a little yoga and meditation...and some time spent out in nature). Vacations are fun, yes, but often they are bookmarked by periods of frenzied preparation and catchup and filled with lots of doing, seeing, buying, etc. All of that activity feels normal, making a half day of unscheduled nothingness seem intimidating.
I vote to give nothingness a chance. Sure, it may seem a little intimidating at first but after a while the peace sets in. Bliss.
If you need help taking some downtime here are two goodies (one is free) for you:
How would you like to spend a weekend with Pema Chodron without even leaving your house? Omega online learning is hosting a live video event featuring Pema Chodron and Tim Olmstead which kicks off tomorrow, May 17 and runs through Sunday, May 19. The weekend features talks and guided meditations and allows for plenty of downtime in between sessions. Click here for more information and to sign up .
For at-home retreat do-it-yourselfers, block off a half day, full day, or better yet, full weekend and schedule meditation sessions, yoga practices, walks in nature, naps, journaling, or anything else that catches your fancy. To help you with the meditation portion of your at home retreat -- or to build a daily practice so that every day offers up some peaceful retreat-like time, download Jeff Carreira's free ebook , The Miracle of Meditation.