I'm still waiting for a copy of Martha Beck's book The Joy Diet. What I gathered from reading other people's posts and listening to Jamie Ridler's delightful vidio that introduced this book club adventure was that the first chapter was on moving to nothing - and the three suggestions for the week's practice were to 1) spend about 15 minutes a day doing nothing, 2) pay attention to the moments when you experience joy throughout the week, 3) make some kind of collage or visual card that represents your experience of nothing. Not having more guidelines than that, I decided to experiment.
I played with my 15 minutes doing nothing in different settings: lying on my bed with my feet up on the wall, sitting in the parking lot waiting for my little grandson to emerge from preschool, sitting on my front steps - and sitting in my studio where I had caused total chaos by pulling the contents out of a closet. I chose not to call my time meditation - because that felt too structured to me. Instead, I watched my breathing ( I know, you do this in meditation, too), heard things around me, felt breeze or not, noticed people going by or not, put aside things that tried to make me make plans, and let myself sink toward nothing.
It takes a while. No matter where I practiced, initially I tensed. My breathing speeded up. My head became a clutter, a whirlwind. As I stuck with it, thoughts drifted away - some returned or captured me, but gradually they gently subsided. And every once in a while I was floating - so briefly, not even a breath's length before I noticed and lost it. But when I was at that still point, I felt fully supported. When I started this week and wondered what I'd paint at the end, I anticipated gray. But that's not what it felt like to me - it was a very soft surrounding, more vibrant than gray but not intrusive. I couldn't quite paint in one static image - because getting to nothing took time. So I layered this little journey. The top layer is full of chaotic thoughts and images. When I remove that the next layer has things floating in and out, but there is a pattern of settling occurring. And the last layer is that short experience of nothingness.
I'm so eager to see and read what others found in their week. And if you're not already doing this book club, but find it intriguing, it's open to all at any time. You can find Jamie's blog link on my first post.