Some days I am struck but just how messed up our relationship to the word “waste” is. I have clients in my office every day talking sheepishly about how they feel like they’re wasting time. When we get curious about what they have done that falls into that category, you know what they say? I slept in, I didn’t do anything productive, I just reorganized my basement, I read a young adult novel, I totally unplugged because I couldn’t take it anymore, I cried all weekend, I used my kids as an excuse not to do anything, etc. Do you hear that? How sleep, expressing our emotions, making beautiful things, connecting with those we love, playing, getting lost, daydreaming, being present, making a house feel like a home… are considered not valuable, not productive, and—even worse—a waste of time? What does that even mean “waste of time”? And why are we not as concerned with REAL waste, like carbon emissions, garbage, single-use plastics, our rabid consumerism that’s gone unchecked, or black and brown human lives that are killed everyday with seemingly no regard? That is the real waste we need to focus on, not napping, being unproductive or daydreaming. I don’t know about you, but some of my biggest insights and best ideas have come in those moments I have felt like I was “wasting” time. Same holds true for my clients, much to their surprise. If that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right. But I would like us to stop shaming and blaming ourselves for it, so maybe, just maybe, we can all stop obsessing on the verb (wasting) and start focusing our attention on of the actual nouns (waste) a bit more.
Want to know what these daily verses are all about? Read here to learn what inspired this practice on my birthday post, November 1st.