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Do Nothing Time: Lifestyle Practice

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The next Whole Life Challenge starts in:

Do Nothing Each Day This Week

Simple Instructions:

  1. For 10 minutes, sit, lie, or stand and do nothing.
  2. Do not check your phone. Don’t read. Don’t even try to meditate.
  3. Just be there, and if any feelings come up — discomfort, restlessness, or even guilt or silliness that you’re not doing anything — just acknowledge them without needing to do anything about them, and let them pass.

Watch this video for an explanation of this Lifestyle Practice from Whole Life Challenge co-founders Andy Petranek and Michael Stanwyck.

Why Is This Practice Important?

We are always doing something. When was the last time you actually did nothing?

I mean nothing.

You probably can’t remember. There is either something we “have to” be doing or “should” be doing. And if those things are done, there is another something we want to be doing.

But how often does it occur to us that it’s actually okay, maybe even good, to do nothing?

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To hammer home a truism: we are human beings, not human doings. Yet many (or most) of us have lost sight of what it means to “be” if we aren’t doing or accomplishing something. Even relaxing is something to get done.

We tend to measure our self-worth based on how many things we get done and/or the “quality” of the things we get done. But what if our absolute worth was inherent in our simply being? What if doing wasn’t how we calculated our value?

Try to think of the last time you lost yourself, when your ego or personality disappeared from your internal conversation. When you suddenly realized you had been doing nothing for the last several minutes. That almost felt outside of time, didn’t it? You may remember that there were no feelings of good or bad, just being. You were in contact with some deeper part of yourself. You didn’t even have to try.

Your life is important simply in your being. Doing can’t even begin compare.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.”

-Jalal Al-Din Rumi

For More on This Practice

“For the entire history of our species, there’s always been down time – a lot of it…it’s still critical that we take some time away [from distractions.]” — Dr. Andy Galpin, Director of the Center for Sport Performance at CSU Fullerton

Hit play on this special ten-minute discussion with Andy Petranek and Andy Galpin for a deeper context on this week’s practice. Please, subscribe on iTunes to be notified when we release the full-length conversation with Dr. Galpin.

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Michael Stanwyck
Michael Stanwyck is the co-founder of The Whole Life Challenge, an idea that developed during his seven years as a coach and gym manager at CrossFit Los Angeles.

He graduated from UCLA with a BA in philosophy as well as a degree from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, and feels food is one of the most important parts of a life - it can nourish, heal, and bring people together.

Michael believes health and well-being are as much a state of mind as they are a state of the body, and when it comes to fitness, food, and life in general, he thinks slow is much better than fast (most of the time). Stopping regularly to examine things is the surest way to put down roots and grow.

He knows he will never be done with his own work, and believes the best thing you can do for your well-being starts with loving and working from what you’ve got right now.