So following on from my initial ‘random word play’ short writing, tonight I’m looking at the word ‘nothing’. This is the word my eyes landed on as I randomly opened the dictionary on my desk.
Pronoun: 1. not anything. 2. something that is not important or interesting. 3. nought!
The word ‘nothing’ comes from the Old English word naping and nan (meaning none/ not one) nap and ‘thing’= meaning nothing, came into the English language around the 16th century . By 1961 it became used as an adjective according to Etymology online dictionary
What do you think of when you think of ‘nothing’?
By this I mean the word, not when you literally try to think of ‘nothing at all’. To me the word nothing feels like a very empty word to me. I don’t know if this is because I know full well the meaning of the word, but I really mean this. As as I sat and contemplated the word the first thing that came to mind was literally ’empty’. Then I started to think, when was the last time I felt nothing–empty in other words?
I’d probably say, not to long ago, around 2021 when I learned that my mum was ill and had been for sometime, but she hadn’t said anything. I really didn’t know what to think, feel, or even say. Part of me felt angry at first and couldn’t understand why this was happening. Then I realised that there literally ( at that point in time) was ‘nothing’ that I could have done to make things better for anyone, or change anything. All I could do was along with my sisters help prepare mum for her journey out of this world, and at the same time prepare myself for that loss. The thing is I could not do either very well, I kept trying to search for the meaning of things… of life! This was after the feeling of ‘nothing’ and empty started to progress and mould itself into a new emotion.
When I think about other times in life that I have felt a sense of ‘nothing’, what usually has followed this is a period of stillness. I am by nature a very reflective person, while I may be still in my actions, contact with others, or even my progress with writing my mind never seems to stop! I find that when I am moving through the state of nothing-ness (outside of my experience with my mum) I literally withdraw but overthink so much.
Is Becoming Still a Bad or Good Thing?
When I reflected on this, I realised and felt that generally speaking ( there I go again using that same word and phase from last week!) No, becoming still is not a bad thing. There was a point in my life when I completely changed my life and direction, but while I made all those changes inside of me I was very still. I sat back and really thought about what I wanted out of life, where I was and was not going, and defining what I saw for myself and future. It was wonderful, it lasted a long-ass time too! I was still for a while and that stillness did wonders!
How Does One Become Still?
I think that before you decide how, why is the question? One thing I have learned is the beauty of thinking about what’s needed and why before I make a full decision. I have also learned to centre myself around ‘what’s needed’ as much as possible these days also. Become clear on why you may need to take a pause and experience the beauty of ‘nothing’ and then, withdraw yourself from any form of attachment to situations, people, places, or things you need to become still from. This will look different for everyone, whatever withdrawal looks like to you–do it. It could be your time, energy, money, resources, or even just the blessing of having your support and presence offered to others. Once you withdraw, think, reflect, and make lists of things about what you think your next move should be. Weigh up the pros and cons of each item and select the best course of action for you next, after you leave your period of ‘still’. I find that being still often involves going deep inside one’s self too, it’s a path of discovery even if you are not actually taking and kind of action towards or from anything, you’re simply exploring from a still place.
Nothing, Not Important, Uninteresting
Now, this is what the English dictionary would have us believe the definition of ‘nothing’ means. What is not important, and should be given the energy of ‘nothing’ in life generally I think is:
- Making ‘wars’ and conflict for no reason other than selfish gain.
- The past, because it’s the past and should not really shape the future or continue into the future if the past has been a negative experience. Other than for lessons to be learned, I see no importance of negative past experiences to be held on to.
- Worrying about things. It brings stress, impacts on health, and keeps you stuck in a place where you can’t see the woods from the trees! You can’t think clearly.
When I think of the dictionary definition of this word, it leads me to think of the word, action, and feeling of ‘release.’ This is due to the above three points I see as nothing, not important, and uninteresting.
If anything, what would you release right now? Or what do you realise after reflection really needs to be released? So that you can feel ‘nothing’ and move into a state of ‘becoming still’ to figure out where you’re going next?
In conclusion, I feel after writing this nothing, stillness, and release can all (potentially) bring one thing; clarity!