Where are you going in such a hurry?

skatingw“Debbela! Where are you going in such a hurry?” Grandma Rose often asked me.  But I was too busy zooming around the house and crashing into things to answer.

Now I’m the age she was then, and I wonder the same thing—about everyone else.

I know our world keeps moving faster, but still…Do we really need to run around like crazy debcastwpeople? Stay perpetually busy? Check everything off the list?

I don’t think so. In fact, I’m pretty sure we need just the reverse: more time to do little or nothing, to stop being so productive, to get bored.

Bored?! I know. It sounds shocking, backwards, wrong. But apparently we need long stretches of empty time to tap into the creative part of the brain, let new ideas emerge and combine old ones in new ways.

I’m not the only one to come to this conclusion, by the way. Diverse thinkers from Soren Kierkegaard to Virginia Woolf and Van Gogh have recognized the value of boredom (or “idleness,” if the B word offends you).

Brenda Ueland, author of the classic guide, If You Want to Write, put it this way:

The imagination needs moodling—long, inefficient happy idling, dawdling and puttering.

So do yourself a favor today. Ignore your to do list. Do nothing purposeful. Get bored (or idle). And I think you’ll find, in the words of mindfulness guru Jon Kabat-Zinn:

When you pay attention to boredom, it gets really interesting,