Note: This is a personal entry. A reflection while staring out of the window during a rainy day.
Do you have time to think of nothing? It sounds like a silly question. But I find myself scouring for a time to think about nothing; to find some space between Zoom meetings and monitoring the progress of teachers. The “I-don’t-have-time-for that” or the “I’m-too-busy” has become a daily mantra, that after I say it, I hate myself for saying it because I know that I spent some precious time worrying about things that I do not have control of.
Every single day, I am pressed for time, pressured by work, and pushed by circumstances beyond myself. It seems that the new normal is busier than ever. Sometimes meetings become longer, because instead of using other ways of communicating, like the use of messaging apps for work as Discord or Slack, colleagues meet as if we were meeting face-to-face, without considering online fatigue and the hazards of screen exposure on the eyes. Or feeling that we are always within reach, that work time encroaches on personal time.
All day, every day, we try our best just to do what has to get done. Isn’t it exhausting?
I am afraid that if I immerse myself in this kind of routine, inevitably I will lose sight of myself, and perhaps subconsciously, about what makes me happy, or even at peace. So, I have made subtle shifts in my routine. I sleep earlier than before (well, relatively to my usual night work), and wake up, of course, earlier than before the dawn of the pandemic.
How early and how subtle? Around 15 minutes early. I can almost feel your skepticism and is that a slight chuckle? But then it works because the change is not drastic. I have some time to think about nothing. Not to snooze, but to linger, to be with myself as myself, without haste and without impatience. Just emptying my mind, and just let the Holy Spirit fill me with light. I guess this is what it means that emptying oneself is important in a life of faith. We are after all, earthen vessels of God. This way, I find myself not caught up in the things around me.
At first it was difficult. Distractions barge into my mind, and just as I was trained as a Jesuit to meditate for an hour, I try to send them away, one by one. As they enter, I open the door of my mind to shove them out. When I do so, I begin to notice the present moment, the subtle shifts of the morning sun illuminating my room, knowing that it is God’s way of keeping me alive and well. When I am not distracted by other things, I can say that I become at home with my pure and authentic self. I don’t lose sight of who and what I am.
This is the secret why what people say about me has become unimportant. I have been very much at home in my own skin.
I guess making time for nothing, for not thinking about anything creates a greater appreciation for what matters. Simple things can make a huge difference. Hope you too can make these shifts. I guarantee, it is worth it.