I remember myself, more than 2 years ago. I was employed in a corporation and I was reading almost every evening inspiring stories of people taking sabbatical years and traveling the world. Every time, I was telling myself that, someday, I would be in their shoes. That I would quit my job and go see the world, that I would take some time for myself, to do all those things I was gathering in the “creative” drawer. I even subscribed to a Facebook Group called “preparing for the sabbatical year 2015”.
I wanted freedom. I could never understand why I had to come every day and spend more than 9 hours, the whole period of the day when the sun was actually shining, in a glass building, with windows that you could not open. I wanted to be able to go for a coffee, at 1 PM if I wanted and leave the office whenever, just because. I felt trapped by my own decisions and grounded to come every day to a place where I was not happy at all.
At the same time, I was very scared of taking any type of action that would mean losing my job. For months and months, I would make plans in my head on how, one day, I would just quit. But I couldn`t – I was too afraid of me, actually, of how my mind would react after, driving me crazy with questions I didn`t have answers for: “what are you going to do now?”;”what are you without your job?”; “how are you gonna find another job?”; “how could you let go such a wonderful opportunity of growing professionally?”. Something was keeping me hung there, paralyzed and terrified. Is this all there is?
Until one day. Everything ended very simply, after a discussion about happiness. I wasn`t happy, they were not happy. So we parted ways. I couldn`t believe how easy it was. And this is how my “nothing period” started.
I decided to do nothing, for some months, a total novelty for me. I decided to create space and this space saved me in so many ways. In order to deal with my mind, I took a deadline in my head and we had a small discussion: we won`t have any type of job conversations until September, I told her (it was April). No questions, no worries, nothing. It protested a bit, but not as much as I expected. It went quiet in a corner and stayed there, calm and patient. This was one of the biggest surprises I had – I could control my mind, if I gave it clear deadlines. I had been making this problem so big in my had and now … it was so easy to handle!
My “nothing” period meant doing the whole day just what I wanted to do: walking in the park very slowly and discovering new streets of Bucharest, reading all those books that were waiting for me, buying spring flowers and taking care of my “green corner” in the flat, full of plants, writing on my blog and meeting my friends. Nothing big, but things that I was really happy doing. There were things I felt from all my heart I should be doing and I let myself doing them, without feeling guilty, without comparing myself to others that were working, without following that fearful thought peaking some days that I was jobless. I gave myself the right to just stare at the walls and breathe. I was deserving it and it was ok. This was a major accomplishment for me – not feeling guilty for not doing anything.
What I was actually doing in that period was that I was creating a space for new things to blossom. It means cleaning up the old and preparing yourself for the new. I was offering me the opportunity to experience new things, which I trusted would appear from the void. I gave up all the ideas of what I should do and just let life be. For a control freak, giving up expectations and images on how life should be, even for some days, is a major challenge. It requires a deep trust in life itself, to trust that life would support you and that you are taken care of. If you can relax and trust good things will come to you, if you can reach that state, opportunities will arise, it`s just a matter of time. Why? Because that state has a high vibration, a vibration of courage and abundance, you are affirming to the Universe that you trust it and that you already have everything you need. And, when you believe it, it happens.
Actually, after the chaotic period I had been through, I couldn`t hear anything from the inside. Sometimes, I believed my heart has no voice. You need silence in order to hear what you heart is saying. You need to stay still and listen. Without interruptions, without delays, without diversions. All the answers are inside.
The “nothing” period was a source of inspiration, creativity and synchronicities. In May I came up with the idea of giving trainings, a passion that I always had but never pursuited. I proposed a PR course to a foundation and they acccepted it right away. In one of those trainings I met a wonderful guy, who proposed me to work together and this is how I became a freelancer. Also, I discovered that what I thought to be “the normal way of living”, working a 9-18 job, is actually not everybody`s reality and normality. You have no idea how many people are on the street at 3 PM in the afternoon, smiling 🙂 2 years later, I am still a freelancer and I can`t imagine myself going back to employee. I have created a new reality for me, one where different things are possible: to have a drink at at noon without lying at the office, to take a free afternoon anytime or to travel spontaneously, bringing my laptop to the seaside. When you let it, the space fills you with unexpected things, the ones that you really needed and didn`t even know.
Here`s what to do in order to benefit most from a “nothing” period:
1. Give yourself the permission to do nothing. Don`t compare to others, your destiny is unique. Convince yourself it`s ok to stare at the walls. Cause it is.
2. Give your mind a deadline to resume serious discussions and don`t think about fears, worries or any other ghosts
3. Enter a state of trusting life – talk to a therapist, if needed, try meditation and go to workshops that keep you in the present. Only from this state other opportunities become available. If you don`t do this, you took the break for nothing, cause you will create from the same level of fear
4. Keep a journal of your feelings and discoveries
5. Don`t be afraid of the void – it`s the source of all ideas and all things. Relax and enjoy.
I am not the only one that took a “nothing” period and is now grateful for that. I noticed the same pattern in a lot of cases down the road. Just take the example of a girl I met in a couchsurfing meeting, who decided to buy a one-way ticket to Bali and figure out things there. Now she`s working as an event organizer, doing things she really enjoys.
So, if you feel stuck in your life and you don`t know what to do next, you have the feeling that you took the wrong path or just need some space to create, take a “nothing” period. Save some money and do it – it could be the apparent “waste of time” that could save you some years of pain 🙂