We all can't wait to be done with the year 2020. Looking back over all the challenges this year brought to people both in the U.S. and across the globe, we're not likely to feel much fondness for the previous 12 months. And yet, we may find some positive aspects of this extremely challenging year that we can learn to appreciate in hindsight.
In one respect, the pandemic and social unrest that have marked 2020 have forced us to curtail our regular schedules and re-examine our own roles in intrinsic racism and the divisiveness in the world. For many of us, it provided a time for reflection and personal transformation. It meant less doing and more being. That doesn't mean we haven't been productive, but that we've chosen reflection over distraction — which actually can make us more productive.
Idle Time to Creative Time
Compare the pandemic of 2020 to the 17th Century plague that ravaged Europe. Then, Sir Isaac Newton retreated from his post at the University of Cambridge and took refuge at his family's home in Lincolnshire.
In his idle hours, he worked on solving mathematical problems, which became the foundation for calculus. He also spent time experimenting with prisms that led to theories on optics. Newton's downtime led to significant discoveries in the laws of gravity and motion that literally changed the way civilization today views the universe. Had it not been for his isolation during the plague, just as we're now isolated due to the pandemic, we may not have benefited from the many advancements that resulted from his time of solitary productivity.
Granted, idleness isn't particularly appealing to most people. And reflection, or going within, makes many uncomfortable. We much prefer to be busy and distracted as opposed to spending time alone with our own thoughts. When we are confronted with idle time, we most often use it staring at our screens and devices.
Perhaps we will look back at this time and appreciate it when it's behind us. As much as we're eager to see it go, some of us might feel that we, too, have been productive, in spite of the many challenges this year has generated.
The Silver Lining For 2020
Whether you've used these abnormal times to come up with a theory that can change how we view the world or used this time to become more self-reflective and uncover insights that could be life-changing for you, these discoveries could be the silver lining for 2020.
When you look back at this aberrant year, you may come to realize that it provided a profound and invaluable opportunity for personal transformation. It may have allowed you to discover more about yourself and in what direction you'd now like to move.
Making a choice to be less distracted and to welcome the opportunity to find out who you truly are – to discover your authentic self – will give prominence to this year as the one that gave birth to many new ideas, principles, even inventions.
Are We Using Idle and Alone Time Wisely?
We've yet to see how this year has changed us personally. If we used this time wisely, as Newton used his, there are many things we will come to know, both about ourselves and the world we live in today. If it takes idle time and reflection to help us better understand ourselves and the needs of others and of our planet, we should be grateful for the opportunity that 2020 gave us to do so.
We still have some time left before 2020 comes to an end – and however long it takes to make a safe return to our lives out in the world. Let's think about how we want to use our time moving forward and ask ourselves if we're using idle and alone time wisely. In this way, the seeds we plant during this arduous year will bear fruit in the years ahead. And our personal transformation will allow us to appreciate the favorable outcomes that will make surviving 2020 worth it.
©2020 by Ora Nadrich. All Rights Reserved.
Book by this Author
Live True: A Mindfulness Guide to Authenticity
by Ora Nadrich.
Fake news and "alternative facts" permeate our modern culture, causing ever more confusion to what is real and true. Authenticity is more important than ever as a prescription for peace, happiness and fulfillment. Live True fills that prescription. Written in a down-to-earth, supportive voice, Ora's Live True offers the modern approach to Buddhist teachings of awareness and compassion; making them instantly accessible and adaptable to everyday life and everyday people. The book is expertly divided into four sections - Time, Understanding, Living, and ultimately, Realization -- to take the reader through the necessary stages of understanding how to connect to our authentic selves and experience the joy and peace - the ever-present wholeness - that comes from living Mindfully.
About the Author
Ora Nadrich is founder and president of the Institute for Transformational Thinking and author of Live True: A Mindfulness Guide to Authenticity, named as one of the 100 Best Mindfulness Books of All Time by BookAuthority. She is also the author of Says Who? How One Simple Question Can Change. A certified life coach and mindfulness teacher, she specializes in transformational thinking, self-discovery, and mentoring new coaches as they develop their careers. Contact her at theiftt.org