Mid-February is a mixed-up time in the mountains—the sun is higher and the snow melting. Then more snow arrives and the wind heaves it all over the dry roads. I feel hopeful about spring along with a little “No, wait!” to finish those winter projects.

Anyone else?

I last wrote about how “Right Action” might relate to doing Nothing. While I resisted surrendering to that, it’s been a good experiment. In yoga we have the concept of Ahimsa, do no harm. It includes paying attention to how we treat ourselves and choosing curiosity over judgment. Feeling blue, tired, or ill is the opportunity to practice this.

Since apparently I’ve invited you along, here are the results of my doing Nothing experiment so far. Remember, this is not just about me telling on myself. It’s an invitation to reflect, because you’re good company in self-inquiry and care.

  • I’ve returned to reading novels, what a delight. Literature reminds us of our shared humanity, touches the soul, and deepens the experience of living.
  • I cleaned up the Reading Walden manuscript and reached out to Thoreau scholars for help, big gulp.
  • More people started attending yoga classes.
  • Other people are doing jobs I gave up, and here’s the real beauty—they’re better at it than I was.

I’m not saying this to have you reassure me. There’s a little, “Oh, I wish I had done that,” and then it’s over, followed by appreciation for how life moves forward. Isn’t that how we want it to be? We show up for awhile and do something differently, maybe a little better. Then someone else takes over, and they figure out more ways to improve.

So, letting go can be an act of courage. It might mean we don’t really lose anything. Most of all, letting go can be a gift, in all directions.