10/24/2011 10:13 am ET Updated Dec 24, 2011

The Importance of Just Sitting (and 5 Ways to Do It Well)

In general, I am very busy. Too busy. My typical day is spent rushing from meeting to meeting where people want answers to everything and they want them now. And if they don't want answers, they want something else. And sometimes, I want answers from them or I want something else. Either way, it's a ceaseless cycle that moves things forward while draining my energy reserves like gasoline in my tank. So how do I refuel? I sit.

Sitting is not complicated, but it is necessary to my survival. And I'm not talking about all the sitting I end up doing in those meetings. I'm talking about sitting alone, quietly, doing nothing, staring into space.

Here are my sitting tips:
  1. Get comfortable. A couch, a comfy chair, a blanket outside, a bed, a hammock. It doesn't matter as long as you are warm enough, relaxed enough, and preferably, your legs and feet are curled up beneath something and resting. Create spots in your home and yard that are just made for perfect sitting, and places you can go to in your head even if you can't get there with your actual body.
  2. Have a tablet and pen. When you create empty space, thoughts--important thoughts--finally have the room to express themselves. This is where big ideas come from. Insights and clarity. Just sitting and allowing the space to receive messages from the deepest parts of yourself--or the universe, or God, whatever you want to name it. So be prepared with a tablet and pen so you can write it down. There is nothing worse than having a great thought, an insight, or even a poem or a song, and not being able to record it somehow.
  3. Look out a window (open it!), or better yet, be outside. Nature is the great facilitator. The great healer. The great reminder. Fresh air, sunshine, fog, crickets, wind, rustling leaves, chirping birds...that's all the soundtrack and sensory inspiration you need for good sitting.
  4. Don't worry about the clock or the time. You have to find a time when you are not in a rush. Sometimes a five-minute sit is enough. Sometimes a few hours are required. Your body will tell you when it's time to get up--either because of physical needs like the bathroom or refrigerator or because you are compelled to do something. This is actually how I clean, too. I sit and think about what needs to be done and then get up in a spurt and do it all in quick-time. Then I sit again.
  5. 5. Do it again and again. Whenever you feel stuck, tired, in need of ideas or inspiration, sitting is cheap (free, actually) easy, and requires no special attire (in fact, it's better without any attire at all).
Try it!

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