The Joy Diet – Do Nothing

September 27th, 2009


I'm currently reading Martha Beck's The Joy Diet along with Jamie Ridler's online book group. I love Martha Beck's writing, particularly her books Steering by Starlight and Expecting Adam (if you enjoy audio books, I highly recommend listening to Steering by Starlight, which Beck reads), so I was super excited to hear about this choice for Jamie's book group.

The book talks about different daily practices for living a joy-filled life, each one building upon the next. The first one is to do fifteen minutes of nothing every day, which could be done through traditional sitting meditation or moving meditation, anything where you focus on stillness of the mind. Surprisingly hard to do for someone whose mind works a million miles a minute like mine does. I did a mix of sitting meditation and walking meditation throughout the week and was so glad I did. No matter what method you choose, anything that stills the mind is a good practice.

I've found that in many cases, art making is a great way to still the mind, especially when I focus on creating intuitively. So, it made total sense to collage the cover of my newest sketchbook with images of joy. I pulled images intuitively with the intention of selecting colors, textures, and pictures that spoke of joy to me. I added a little bit of glitter and paint  and voila, a joyful sketchbook to write in throughout the process of reading this book!

Sometimes just being still is fabulous, but I tend to prefer something that gets me moving physically too, like walking in nature or painting intuitively, but I'm going to keep playing with different methods and see what comes up.

16 Responses

This would be so difficult! But I guess if something seems impossibly difficult, it is also hugely important to try. :)

Love your collage.

I find that lying still is difficult for me — then I ask myself, Why?

I’d also much rather walk in the woods and think. I like the motion, the swish sounds of my feet through the downed leaves and debris.

I like adding Nothing to my day, though, so I will continue to practice.

Now on to truth … already have breakthoughs. Hard work!!

I love your cover, especially the idea of adding glitter. :-)

Looking forward to continuing the journey!

One of the best parts of learning about nothing for me was the knowledge that it doesn’t have to be “one way”, the same way every day. Exploring ways to discover 15 minutes of nothing each day was not only fun it was challenging and stimulating…I came away from my nothing time eager to do something else with refreshed eyes.

Looking forward to seeing how we all work through truth this week.

Thanks for sharing your week. I have a hard time also shutting off the mind, and I have found like you sometimes when I am creating something my mind is completely empty and things just flow naturally. I did find some nothing time out in nature last week also.
PS: I love your creative every day challenges.

“make life more colorful” yes, that’s perfect for joy and the 15 minuites of not doing anything sounds good.

your nothing sounds so creative and awesome!! i love nothing. once i had a better grasp on it, it became a lot easier for me and even somewhat addictive ;) looking forward to the truth :)

ps, thank you so much for your sweet comments on the dirty footprints studio blog :)

Leah — thanks so much for your collage! I find myself constantly craving collage making, but always so intimidated by the process (partially because I don’t have very good magazines around). So I’m inspired by yours and committing to doing at least one collage in the upcoming weeks and posting it on Friday.

Hi Leah. I enjoye dreading your post. The collage is fabulous. I let a colleague’s daughter see your calendar on Friday. She used it to make her own version of art for 2010. She loves your work too!

Sounds like you had a nice week. Love the collage too. Thanks for sharing about your intuitive art making/collage as another method. Definitely going to try that.

There are many ways to reach the still center. I too enjoyed a combination of sitting and walking meditation. Art making definitely gets us to that artist zone that I love so much.

Enjoy your week. Keep up your practice of doing nothing.

I have found ‘meditation’ challanging as well – but find I love the ‘moment of silence’ with which we begin a weekly book group. I’ve also found ‘moving meditation’ to be helpful – love doing Tai Chi or Qigong (tho daily??) . . .
I recently picked up a book on walking meditation by Thich Nhat Hahn – & a couple of moldavite crystals, & then found this new book – lovely synchronicity!
In a workshop in the mid 90s, Ros. Bruyere mentioned that the brain waves go into meditative state more easily if you do some movement (slow Tai chi or yoga or walking) FIRST, then sit! THat made so much sense to me, & got me past some of the ‘guilt’ of monkey mind when I’d try to ’sit’ . . .

Love the Journal cover! I was inspired to do several soul collage cards when I pulled out mags for my 9 yr old granddaughter to dec. the front of her writing journal for school!
Will take a page from you :)

Yes! Moving stillness is a fantastic way of swimming in blissful nothingness. :)

Leah, I concur with everyone else. Your collage is FABULOUS! So glad you are on this joy journey! xo, Silky

Leah – I love your collaged notebook cover! I never thought of doing that, and I may still do it. I was used to doing the sitting meditation, but also recognized that I can get to that zone also when I am doing artwork. How wonderful that we can use many ways to quiet our busy, busy minds!

This is a great idea for journaling and collaging.
Thanks for sharing!
Blessings, peace, and love to you,

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