The GuardianThe Guardian

If you want to live a life rich in meaning, first you must learn how to do nothing

By Nadine Levy

10 Sep 2023 · 4 min read

informed Summary

  1. Nadine Levy explains how the practice of mindfulness can help individuals explore the meaning in their lives and make more conscious decisions about how they spend their time. She encourages a responsive and inquisitive approach to oneself and others, which can lead to greater clarity about how daily decisions align with deeper intentions.

On the odd occasion when I get a day to myself, I wonder what to do with it. As a parent who works full-time, time off is a rare occurrence. Unstructured time can feel unfamiliar and anxiety-inducing, particularly to those who live by the clock. In these rare moments I try to balance my needs: do I need rest, adventure, solitude or connection? Or do I need something else? But even this process can feel like work.

The question of how to use our time, and indeed our lives, manifests itself in different ways. How do we live a life that is rich in meaning, connection and joy? For some of us this question causes great angst, negatively impacting the way we show up in the world. For others it materialises in quiet doubts that can appear during periods of transition or self-questioning, such as when we’re between jobs, upon retirement or when considering whether to start a family.

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