The Inaction Model Of Action

…or How to Let Problems Take Care of Themselves


Published:

© Andy Singer

People often ask me, “How come you always look so calm and centered? I’ve seen your desk and it’s piled with stacks of bills, manuscripts, clown noses, leftover food containers, plumbing parts… I just don’t understand how someone with so much on their plate can approach their life with so much serenity. What’s your secret?”

Years ago I was like most people: stressed out, continually late, a full agenda with no place to park. I spent my day rushing to solve one problem only to find two more cropping up before I was through. I had two jobs, with barely enough time in between them to drive home for a few hours of shut-eye before I was stuck back in a morning rush hour traffic jam. Yet I was still falling behind in my payments, in a constant state of dishevelment and confusion, hyper and exhausted at the same time.

Then, almost by accident, I discovered a basic principle of life that saved me from a nervous or physical breakdown. Because I was trying to do more than was humanly possible, and therefore running so far behind schedule that I’d never be able to catch up, eventually a natural consequence occurred. Some of the things at the bottom of my to-do list never got done. There simply kept being more urgent things that would get added to top of the list. Eventually the portion of the list that had some of these delayed action items got lost, but I didn’t even notice. I just kept scrambling to catch up. Then one day I stumbled upon that lost part of my to-do list, and as I looked at each of the undone items realized something profound. I didn’t need to do any of them anymore! It was either too late, or the problem had taken care of itself. Even though I had done nothing I was able to cross all these projects off my list.

I thought about how hard I would have had to work to take care of many of these to-do items. For example, one of the projects had been to rebuild the carburetor of my car. But subsequently I’d lent that car out to a friend who had gotten into an accident and totaled it. I’d already collected the insurance money and gotten a new car. If I had been conscientious and fixed that carburetor my friend would still have totaled the car, and the result would have been the same, except for the hours of painstaking work I’d put in to rebuild the carburetor. By not doing anything I’d saved myself tons of work and wound up with the same totaled car. What a revelation! Think of all the time, effort and mess I’d saved!

Or how about my gardening project. I’d been intending to dig some beds in my yard to plant a garden, but never had the time to do it. Then one day my sewer backed up and it turned out I needed to have the plumbers come and dig up my entire yard to replace the sewer pipes. If I’d had a garden planted there they would have destroyed it. Instead, by procrastinating, they wound up digging up my yard for me. By the time they were done, all I need to do was hoe for a few minutes and then stick some tomato and pepper plants into the ground.

Then there was the table that I had promised to build for my girlfriend. But before I got around to it she dumped me for a furniture salesman. So I was really off the hook. I let him worry about getting her a table.

Once I began to see the pattern emerge, I started to have a different attitude about my to-do list. Instead of rushing around trying to take care of everything at once, or working feverishly to finish things before their deadlines, I decided that a far better tactic would be to only do the things on the list that I really wanted to do. I would pick the item I most wanted to do first, and then work my way down the list of favorites. Now, each project I worked on made me happy, and I didn’t want to rush to finish it; I wanted to savor each experience. The rest of the projects on the list would just have to wait, either until I was inspired to work on them, or until they became obsolete, impossible, or morphed into something more fun to work on.

OK, there were some consequences. I lost one of my jobs. But I never really liked being a pet food taster to begin with. I was only test tasting Fido’s dinners to try to get ahead on my various payments. Now I was forced to downsize because I could no longer afford to have a castle with a moat and drawbridge, equipped with cable TV in every room, including the dungeon. But the truth is I couldn’t afford all that even when I had it. Instead of working my butt off to try to pay for a life I didn’t have time for, I found that I had plenty of time to enjoy the life that I could afford. The more I simplified, the shorter my to-do list became and the more time I had to create a to-do life. I stopped making a list of what I wanted to do in the future and just did what I wanted to do in the moment.

So you’re right, my desk is a mess. But I can still find what I need when I need it. It’ll be exactly where I last left it. Occasionally I will dig into the bottom of some of my piles, kind of like an archeologist doing an excavation of an ancient civilization. The civilization of the old me. Usually I’ll find some long lost project, the reason for which I can only guess at, that doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. Into the recycling bin it will go, to make room for something more exciting on the top of the pile.

Raymond Lesser is the publisher of Funny Times, America’s funniest newspaper ($26 for 12 issues available at funnytimes.com). Copyright 2016 Funny Times Inc. Reprinted with permission.

See also:
How To Live In Interesting Times
Four Easy Ways To Try Out A New You

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Daily Astrology

October 20, 2017

A trio of planets in early Scorpio, comprised of Jupiter, Mercury and the Moon, fans flames of hope today. The intrepid threesome is nicely aligned with mystical Neptune. Spiritual, as well as altruistic and artistic leanings are brilliantly served…
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Alternative Health Directory

Browse all listings »

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

October 2017

Learn Reiki — revitalizing self-care and healing in the palm of your hands. Facilitated by Lou Orsan, Reiki Shihan (master teacher.) This one-day class covers the...

Cost: $125

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

With Barbara Blanchard Headaches are a common clinical condition that can benefit from acupuncture and acupressure treatment. This workshop will study the different types of headaches as defined...

Cost: $125 students, $175 professionals

Where:
Roots and Wings Yoga and Healing Arts
317 North Main Street
Natick, MA  01760
View map »


Sponsor: Eastern Medicinal Therapies Education Center
Telephone: 617-435-3586
Contact Name: Lauren Paap
Website »

More information

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

All-day retreat, including meal, movement, morning and afternoon experiential sessions. Limited spots, pre-registration required. Email Kyle@PortalCrystalGallery.com or visit...

Where:
Portal Crystal Gallery
489 Mass Ave.
Arlington, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Crystal Concentrics
Contact Name: Kyle Russell
Website »

More information

Guided loving kindness meditation every Sunday at HeartSong Spiritual Wellness. No charge to attend. Donations are appreciated to help support this non-profit wellness center. Read more:...

Cost: Free

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: HeartSong
Contact Name: Jacki Rose
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

Nancy's therapeutic and healing nature stems from her own personal journey through health struggles. Her style is open to everyone, no matter physical or mental challenges, or age....

Cost: $15 drop in or $12 with 10 class bundle

Where:
HeartSong Spiritual Wellness
23 Pine Street
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: HeartSong Spiritual Wellness Center
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Come join Mary Budrose on October 17, November 14, December 14, from 7-8pm to learn more about the The Budrose Center For Spiritual Growth healing program and experience a chakra balancing...

Where:
Budrose Center for Spiritual Growth (Blossom Healings)
54 Main Street
Topsfield, MA  01983
View map »


Telephone: 978-561-1687
Contact Name: Mary Budrose
Website »

More information

The Daoist Benevolent Association offers free classes on traditional Wudang style tai chi. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Brown School
42 Milk St Newburyport
Newburyport, MA  01950
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Benevolent Association
Telephone: 978-462-4617
Contact Name: Barbara
Website »

More information

One-of-a-kind, life changing holistic health education program again being offered free of charge Local business owner shares groundbreaking mind-body-spirit course to combat obesity epidemic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park
#4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Michelle Caron
Website »

More information

Beginner Kripalu Yoga with Lisa Davidson Brand new to yoga or returning after a break, this class is kind and challenging for your body, relaxing and destressing for your mind, and will help you...

Cost: $113 for 7 weeks

Where:
A Yoga Leaf
@ Whimsy
686 Worcester Rd.
Framingham, MA  01702
View map »


Sponsor: Lisa Davidson
Contact Name: Lisa Davidson
Website »

More information

A unique divine healing meditation, lead by Bhavna, to help you in your life; with your relationships, money, work and family. Also, the meditation helps with letting go to release...

Cost: $10

Where:
Bhavna’s Wellness Group
512 Main St.
Penthouse Suite
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
View map »


Sponsor: Bhavna’s Wellness Group
Telephone: 508-970-5620
Contact Name: Krista Bennett
Website »

More information

Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Christopher Penczak discusses how you can call upon Michael for aid in your own life and to help the planet. Explore the lore and magick of this beloved figure who crosses many cultures and...

Cost: $35

Where:
Circles of Wisdom
90 Main Street
Andover, MA  01810
View map »


Telephone: 978-474-8010
Website »

More information

October 18 - 20, 2017  With Renée Starr Ladies, reclaim your sacredness, awaken your devotion, and become the magic you seek. Details at www.goddesspriestesswitch.com. ...

Where:
ZuZu's Healing Arts
122 West Emerson
Melrose, MA  02176
View map »


Telephone: 781-665-8844
Website »

More information

This gentle yoga class is good for all skill levels. Scheduled perfectly in the middle of your week; the movements will be a welcome respite to your usual morning routine.

Cost: $10

Where:
Bhavna’s Wellness Group
512 Main St.
Penthouse Suite
Shrewsbury, MA  01545
View map »


Sponsor: Bhavna’s Wellness Group
Telephone: 508-970-5620
Contact Name: Krista Bennett
Website »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

With Lisa Rockenmacher and Kristan Bishop Looking for a deeper connection with bliss? Seeking practical ways to increase wellness and health in all aspect of your life? Do you desire a...

Cost: $100

Where:
YogaLife Institute of NH
6 Chestnut Street
Lower Level
Exeter, NH  03833
View map »


Sponsor: YogaLife Institute of NH
Telephone: 603-969-8968
Contact Name: Brian Serven
Website »

More information

Are you ready to embrace more self-compassion and nurturing into your life? Take the plunge now! This 6 week group will weave yoga, creative arts, meditation, journaling and...

Cost: $180

Where:
Integrated Psychotherapy
31 Hastings Street
Mendon, MA  01756
View map »


Telephone: 508-335-6732
Contact Name: Sherri Snyder, MA, LMHC
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

​One Night Only in Portland! Enlightened Spiritual Teacher Dave Oshana! Experience the transformational miracles of the enlightenment transmission. Enjoy the freedom to be your true self!...

Cost: Free, donations accepted.

Where:
Z Dance Club
1844 Forest Avenue
Portland, ME  04103
View map »


Sponsor: Enlightenment Transmission Foundation
Telephone: 207-443-7001
Contact Name: Maryanna Bock
Website »

More information

What are smudge fans, and what are they used for? Smudging is probably best known as a Native American ritual, although smudging has been used since ancient times by many people as a ceremony of...

Cost: $25

Where:
YOUnity Yoga & Wellness
189 Main Street
4th floor
Milford, MA  01757
View map »


Sponsor: YOUnity Yoga & Wellness
Telephone: 508-478-3333
Contact Name: Barbara Hickson
Website »

More information

In this 220-hour, one-year program with lead trainer Hari Kaur, you will become an instructor and learn the fundamental principles and practices of Kundalini Yoga.

Where:
Yoga At The Ashram
368 Village Street
Millis, MA
View map »


Telephone: 508-376-4525
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

People get ready! We are going to stir it up! One time only! Join Chuck Raffoni (Relax and Recharge with Chuck) for a night of Broga® Yoga, Bob Marley and Brews at Western Ave. Studios in...

Cost: $25

Where:
Western Ave Studios
122 Western Ave
Lowell, MA  01851
View map »


Sponsor: Relax and Recharge with Chuck
Contact Name: Chuck
Website »

More information

Certification in Core Energetics with directors Karyne Wilner, PsyD and Charles Corley, Med. For heart-centered psychotherapists and body-mind healers. Training begins October 20.

Where:
Middletown, RI


Telephone: 401-316-7401
Website »

More information

Weekly yoga classes with Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN of Harmony Way on Wednesdays at 12:15 PM and Fridays at 9:30 AM at the Wilbraham Senior Center. Class welcomes all ages and uses a...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilbraham Senior Center
45 Post Office Park, #4502
Wilbraham, MA  01095
View map »


Sponsor: Harmony Way
Telephone: 413-636-2475
Contact Name: Rev. Michelle Caron, RMT, CYT, ZIN
Website »

More information

Daoist Priest Zhou Xuanyun teaches traditional Wudang style kung fu.

Cost: $110/month

Where:
Boston Ultimate Fitness
72 Beach Street (4th Floor)
Boston, MA  02111
View map »


Sponsor: Daoist Gate Wudang Arts
Telephone: 508-245-8305
Contact Name: Zhou Xuanyun
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

October 21 - 22, 2017 A two-day training facilitated by Reiki Shihan (Master-Teacher), Lou Orsan This two-day Level II training enhances your knowledge and practice of traditional Japanese...

Cost: $190

Where:
Northeast Reiki Center
61 Nicholas Road, Suite B2
Framingham, MA  01701
View map »


Sponsor: Northeast Reiki Center
Telephone: 508-808-5696
Contact Name: Lou Orsan
Website »

More information

Do you desire more connection and nourishing touch?  Do you find it hard to ask for what you really would like in life and in the bedroom? Do you want to improve your confidence and...

Cost: $97

Where:
Watertown Center for Healing Arts
17 Spring St
Watertown, MA
View map »


Sponsor: Conscious Intimacy
Telephone: 415-244-1652
Contact Name: Brynn Bishop
Website »

More information

January 14 - December 9, 2017 With Tom Frederick Novice — This 12-month program is designed to assist you on your journey to spiritual enlightenment. Here we study a variety of esoteric...

Cost: $1300

Where:
Women of Wisdom
118 Washington Street
North Easton, MA  02356
View map »


Sponsor: Women of Wisdom
Telephone: 508-230-3680
Contact Name: Women of Wisdom
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags