Thoughtful Thursday: How about just doing nothing?

A few weeks ago I encountered the following quote that made me chuckle:

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It’s meant to be a joke, of course, but aside from appreciating the play on words, I liked the suggestion that doing nothing – from time to time – isn’t a bad idea. It’s an add-on to the wisdom we’ve picked up at our house from Lionel Hardcastle: doing very little, slowly!

I will admit to having been an A.A. Milne fan since I was a small child, having been brought up on not only the Winnie the Pooh stories but also Milne’s marvelous books of children’s poems, such as Now We Are Six and When We Were Very Young. Who wouldn’t be captivated by lines like, “Hush, hush, whisper who dares, Christopher Robin is saying his prayers.”  So I was curious as to which beloved character in A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh series may have said this; it didn’t really ring true for any of them. You can guess what I did next, I googled the quote to find its source. If you follow all the resulting links for completeness it turns out  that it wasn’t Winnie the Pooh or Piglet, and it wasn’t Eeyore or Tigger. It is attributed to A.A. Milne and also to Winnie the Pooh in several instances. But, in fact, nobody can find a verified attribution for A.A. Milne, and the quote/joke or something very similar may have been floating around since 1906!

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However, fellow lovers of A.A. Milne’s utterly charming children’s stories and poems, infused with love and nuggets of wisdom, will be pleased to know that advice on doing nothing can indeed be found in Winnie the Pooh.

In the first Winnie the  Pooh book, back nearly 100 years in 1926, Winnie the Pooh asks Christopher Robin how it is possible to do nothing. Christopher Robin’s reply: “Don’t underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.” Think about it. Just go along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering (about anything else). Is that sound advice or what?!

In the 2018 Winnie the Pooh movie by Disney, Pooh is clearly building on Christopher Robin’s earlier advice when he says, “Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.” Pooh learned well.

It isn’t just bears of little brain who understand the value of slowing down, of doing nothing. A cartoon recently forwarded to me by the nice blogger at Endless Weekend demonstrates the value of doing nothing, or at least doing very little, slowly. Some animals clearly understand this philosophical approach to life better than others!

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I hope each of you will take heart from Christopher Robin’s and Winnie the Pooh’s excellent advice and give yourself the gift of doing nothing. At least from time to time. Put down your to-do lists just for a bit and see if doing nothing may lead to the very best of something.

 

 

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30 Responses to Thoughtful Thursday: How about just doing nothing?

  1. Everything in moderation I suppose. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. jofedorchuk says:

    delightful! thank you. I want to re-read my Winnie the Pooh books now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wynne Leon says:

    Beautiful post and wisdom. Having young children has the added benefit of being able to read Winnie the Pooh again and you are right, it’s thick with wonder and wisdom.

    Your post reminds me of an interview I heard with psychiatrist Scott Peck. He said that when asked how he’s accomplished so much, he replied that it was because he did nothing 2 hours a day. When he called it his thinking time, people felt free to interrupt him so he started calling it his praying time and people left him alone. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Oh, Wynne, I’m glad you’re occasionally treating your kids and yourself to the simple delights of A.A. Milne. His work is timeless. And thank you for bringing up one of my favorite inspirational authors, Scott Peck. Yet another example of his wisdom.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Jane, for the timely reminder to build “doing nothing” time into my day and week! And to not feel guilty about it. I needed this!

    Deb

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Doing nothing IS doing something—it’s just doing nothing. It sounds a lot like meditation to me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Margaret says:

    As a big fan of A.A. Milne and many of his books still on shelves in our house I couldn’t agree more about experiencing ‘doing nothing’ – and I mean absolutely nothing!
    But how to stop feeling guilty and thinking ‘I OUGHT to be doing something’ is the recurring question for me! I know, crazy!! 😏

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      So glad to know there are other A.A. Milne devotees out there! I wonder what it is about this guilt thing that hovers for so many of us. There’s no doubt that it’s real, and it’s often counterproductive. We need to start feeling guilty if we DON’T take the time to ‘do nothing’!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. debscarey says:

    It’s always struck me as not being very Pooh-like, so it makes sense that it’s attributed to Christopher Robin. I like it very much – whoever said it. And yes, a huge fan of the book, and the poems especially (and I don’t read much poetry).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rose says:

    Marvelous wisdom Jane. Isn’t it astounding how simple words, meant for children, can have a philosophical effect on us adults? We all need time to do nothing. If only we all lived in the Hundred Acre Wood…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Victoria says:

    Thank you for this, Jane! Winnie the Pooh wisdom was a favorite when our dear daughter was young…and the line from the 2018 movie? I’d forgotten about it: “Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.” Golly. Yes…there’s a wallop of good advice! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Excellent advice! Slowing down on occasion really refreshes the spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. heimdalco says:

    My very old computer rolled over on its back a few weeks, took its last gasp & departed this life. It had lived well & served me equally as well. I bought a new one. With all the bells & whistles came Windows 11. That has been a shock & a challenge after years of comfort with Windows 7 that had felt like a worn out pair of soft & comfortable jeans. I’ve just struggled through putting together our club’s 20 page newsletter with more frustration than I can put into words. Just this afternoon as I was nearing the end I promised myself, ” if I EVER finish this newsletter I’m giving myself an entire day to DO NOTHING.” Your post couldn’t have come at a better time to convince me I’ve made the right decision. I LOVE this post & Winnie the Pooh, also from my childhood. I’m looking forward to being a turtle …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jane Fritz says:

      You’ll be an awesome turtle, Linda! Enjoy it. If it’s any consolation about your computer woes, I’ve just had to acquire a new Windows 11 computer as well, because old Windows is no longer being supported come January, even if your computer’s working just fine. Grrr. I’m at least luckier than you in that I can figure the new one out slowly. Deep breaths. Savour do-nothing time!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Bernie says:

    I am seriously not good as this. The to do list seldom dies down. The brain doesn’t let go easily. On the plus side a huge fan of A.A. Milne!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great advice, Jane. I think I need to re-read some Winnie the Pooh, then introduce the books to my granddaughters 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Roy McCarthy says:

    Something I can get behind. A number of years ago, before the idea gained traction, I read a splendid book (details now forgotten) which pointed out the absurdities of life on a hamster wheel and urged the reader to step off that wheel, maybe learn to play the ukelele. Milne was ahead of the times.

    Liked by 1 person

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