If you have kids in the house, summertime can carry with it the words, “I’m bored.”
Turn this statement towards yourself.
When was the last time you were bored?
Not bored as an overall state of life, but bored within a moment because for the short time of that moment you had nothing to do?
Due largely to the technology today we have lost the fine art of doing nothing.
It seems that any time there’s a free moment, we must log on, check our phones, send a text, scroll through Facebook, or engage in some other “tethered” activity.
Spend some time at a park with your kids and notice the other parents there. Many of them will be busy on their phones, occasionally looking up to find their child (I’ve been one of them).
Is life meant to be this way?
It might seem logical and productive to make to most of every moment doing something (they’re precious, after all), but take a step back to look at the big picture.
Is this what our lives are to be?
Is this what our relationships are to be?
A non-stop stream of productive tasks? A life-long work day? A never ending calendar filled with scheduled to-do’s?
Where do you find joy?
When was the last time you walked around barefoot in the grass? Or took a nap in a hammock? When was the last time you read a novel for the sheer joy of reading rather than the need to better yourself? Or the last time you spent time with someone you love without without an agenda but purely for the joy of being with them?
Recently my neighbor had her father and uncle living with them. Every day I would see them sitting outside on the porch and I was struck with a sense of comfort from the sight. It reminds me of the times when communities sat on the porch together in the evening. You didn’t read the status updates of your friends, you visited on the porch.
The world has moved to a constant state of stimulation. And we’ve evolved to believe that the stimulation must never cease.
The problem – it is damaging our relationships, families and lives.

Downtime is to the brain what sleep is to the body, but kids today are in a constant mode of stimulation. ~ Dr. Michael Rich of Harvard Medical School.

An Alternative

Being bored isn’t something to be avoided, it’s to be embraced.
It’s not a matter of being bored, it’s being 100% present.
If we ask ourselves instead, “How can I best enjoy this moment?”, then the entire idea is reframed.
Now we may spend the moment working or learning something if that brings you joy. But we may also spend the moment doing nothing, sitting on the porch with a glass of lemonade, taking a nap in a hammock, or even crawling under the covers with a lover.

(photo source)
Adapted from Leo of Zen Habits

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