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  • Writer's pictureEve Bernfeld



For someone who teaches non-doing, I have a lot to learn… (That’s probably why I teach it.)

A recent Saturday found the whole family at home, following a busy week of work and summer camp. Eager to spend time with kids who had spent long hours tie-dying and singing songs and learning “toilet tag” (yep, that’s a thing) at day camp, I made some proposals at breakfast:

“I was thinking we could go blueberry picking on Sauvie Island!”


“Or hiking in Forest Park?”


“Do you guys want to go to the playground?”

Turns out what everybody needed (including me) was to do NOTHING. We didn’t leave the house all day. I’m not sure if anyone got dressed. It was wonderful and necessary and, for me, excruciating. Despite the fact that I've been taking a day OFF for over a year, I've yet to master a Day Off State of Mind.

I love nothing more than crossing things off a list (you better believe that when this blog is posted it will be checked off a list, possibly with a little dance). But being busy, “getting things done” can itself become an unproductive habit. Sometimes I wonder, which is more important: doing the thing, or crossing it off the list? All this activity becomes movement for its own sake—spinning that gets me nowhere but exhausted.

Sometimes the most “productive” thing to do is nothing. Productive of renewed energy, refreshed thinking, rediscovered enthusiasm.

My kids pretty much destroyed the house that day. Particularly when they discovered the stash of old toys I’ve been meaning to drop off at Goodwill (aargh!) But by the end of the day everyone seemed a little more grounded. A little more themselves. And that certainly included me.

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