The other day, I sat down to work, in the space I created for myself for deep work and writing. After a little bit of writing, I spent a fair amount of time just sitting in the chair, looking out the window at the townhouse across the street from the apartment where I’m staying in NYC’s West Village, listening to the trees rustle in the wind on a cold winter morning.
I allowed the thoughts to come and go without trying to get them all down. These thoughts today were not anxious thoughts. They weren’t loops. I wasn’t really in any stories.
It was the opposite. I was seeing the big picture. Looking at the through-line.
I don’t really know how long I spent sitting there; I lost track of time.
For the first time in the 10 weeks since I’ve been back in New York, I experienced the feeling of being.
I felt peaceful, connected, centered. I felt like I was back at home in my body.
It always feels weird when I do this. Like I’m playing hooky from my work. It’s as if there’s something I’m not doing when I sit and stare out the window (or at the ocean, as I did for most of this year) and simply reflect and allow the thoughts to pass, without trying to capture them or turn them into to-dos or even decipher any wisdom from them.
This state of being feels and looks a lot like “doing nothing,” and … it kind of is.
In fact, that’s the point.
When I find myself in a space like this, where I’ve lost track of time while sitting and staring out the window, I remind myself: this is the thing we’re after.
This is the thing that the creative geniuses throughout the ages have said that they do that fuels their creativity and their best work. I was allowing. I was receiving. I was being.
The Misconception About Deep Work
The misconception about deep work is that it always involves a tangible act of creating; that we can measure the “productivity” of our time by what we have to show for it when we get up from our chair.
The most important parts of your work are not the words that flow onto the page, or the code you write, or the websites you design, or whatever other tangible things you create.
These creations are merely vehicles through which you share your work with the world.
Your most important work is connecting with who you are, with your values, your inner truth. Your essence.
Cultivating this is not a thing you can do. It comes from a state of being.