• Ellen Shilling

The power of doing nothing

I've had such an interesting couple of weeks. At the beginning of December I was lucky enough to go on honeymoon to Bali. I don't know if you've been (it had been 20 years since I had) but it's a wonderful country with a culture that runs deep in the very essence of their being and it's the most important thing to them.

It was a strange experience for me in that there was nothing to do!

Now of course there was plenty to do as such, but nothing appealed and so (to himself's delight) we did very little. Slept, read, swam, slept again. Bliss.

We went to the Gilli Air, a tiny island (2km by 1km) where you can only get around on foot or bicycle. Nothing to do again. Slept, ate, read, swam. Bliss (hmmmm by now the blissness was getting to me) So I decided to plunge even further in by going on digital detox. No electronic device for a week.

He said I couldn't do it. I'm competitive so I did!

The result - more boredom, more bliss, but mostly boredom and lots of it. I was soo bored, nothing to distract at all and I was like a moody teenager. At the same stage I started watching (hey I had nothing else to do!) I watched everything: the wind, the sun, the waves, the lightning storms (apparently I was like the dog in Up, exclaiming "fork", "flash" at frequent intervals all with a good deal of enthusiasm) and I swear I even watched trees grow.

As I watched and in the days after I had some incredible insights, about my life, my work about mindfulness & meditation all of which I will be bringing into my work this year and sharing via these blog posts.

From this experience my first lesson or re-lesson (this isn't new to me but I got it on a whole other level) that while I can have resistance to stopping and being, it's actually the most important and worthwhile thing to do. It's essential to me, to learn about myself, the world, this life we live and how to navigate it. Otherwise I get caught up in the doing, which is for me, like being on a treadmill: lots of effort but not getting anywhere.

Everytime I stop and do this I'm always met with resistance in the form of boredom (thoughts like "what you're just going to stare out the window? What about all the things on your to do list, or the what's apps you have you send / people to contact" )

and it takes time to come off the treadmill, but it's in those moments that I have the greatest realistations about what's important, or what needs to change or what to leave. Otherwise how could anything change? From these insights action will be taken that is more meaningful, more productive and better for those around me. I realised deeply that if I want to be happier, if I want to delve deeper and be a space to faciliate others to do the same then this time out is one of the most important things to do.

Time though. Where to find the time? Well I love this question:

Looking back on 2019 what was your biggest waste of time?

That might be a place to start. For me, the tv is going off!

I've been sick since I came home (another Blog post on this coming soon) so apologies if you've been trying to contact me, I'm slowly working through emails and appointments. I will get back to you soon.


Next 8 week Mindfulness course starting end of Jan

Next self compassion 6 week course starting 22nd Jan

#doingnothing #thepowerofnothing #justbe #resistanceisinevitable #watchinglightning


get in touch

7 Carysfort Avenue,


Dublin, Ireland 

Eircode - A94 K6Y5

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+ 353 86 682 4401