I need to do the laundry. I need to go to work. I need to finish this project.
I need to do this, I need to do that...Tweet It!
I always feel like I need to do so, so much.
A few years ago, I came across an idea that changed my perspective a bit. It was sparked by this line from the poet, environmentalist, and Buddhist scholar Gary Snyder (who by the way is a fascinating person, read more about his life and work here). Gary wrote:
"Knowing that nothing need be done is where we begin to move from."
I remember so clearly when I first read this quote.
It was a couple of years back at a small cheese shop in Blue Hill, Maine. I was in search of a soft and stinky local cheese (as I so often am).
The shop had some prints from a local letterpress printer and while flipping through, I saw the quote.
Immediately I was struck by it.
At first my reaction was, “What?! That’s interesting. But what does it even mean?”
Repeating the idea back slowly to myself… “Knowing that we don’t need to do anything is where we can begin?”
The way Gary starts with the word “knowing” caught me off-guard. As if the idea that “nothing need be done” is a universal truth.
Then it hit me — holy shit. It is a universal truth.
We don't need to do anything.
Sure, we need water to live. But we only need water in so much as we want to live. Life is the choice we are making here.
I only need to do laundry because I choose to wear clean clothes.
It’s a subtle and in a way semantic difference. But it has changed my perspective on so many things.
Realizing that all the things I “need” to do are choices I have made — it is an idea I find infinitely liberating.
And realizing that I in fact can be intentional about the decisions I make is exactly where I begin to move forward from.
P.S. Surfacing ideas that have the power to positively change perspectives is a big part of our work at Holstee. Dive into our archive of work with a Holstee Membership →
Start the day feeling grounded and inspired with our 30 day Reflections series.
Join thousands of people who have received the 30-day Reflections email series and enjoyed a daily moment to reflect, smile, and think about a life lived mindfully.
Free. Unsubscribe anytime.
“I’m in the midst of big life transitions at the moment, chasing book deals, relocating, taking risks, carving out a life that feels honest, so your emails have been a perfectly timed source of inspiration and reassurance.” Jo in London, Great Britain
"Love the emails! They are a great reset or what I would call mindful chiropractic adjustment to approaching the day. Thank you!" Laurie in Albuquerque, New Mexico
"I love the emails. They give me a new perspective and things to think about and apply in my life." Monica in Johannesburg, South Africa
"It's food for the soul and sets my spiritual compass in the right direction." Farahdiva Samsul in Assam, India
"Absolutely LOVE the daily emails. One of the only email subscriptions I read daily. Keep them coming!!" Adriana in New York, New York
"The emails are thought-provoking and uplifting. A little pause from the crazy happenings of modern life. A quick chance to reflect, smile, and think about a life lived mindfully." Pharan in Queensland, Australia
"I have thoroughly enjoyed the Mindfully Mailed series. Daily I await this little nugget of goodness to hit my inbox each day." Tambria in Shreveport, Louisiana
Welcome to Holstee
Our monthly membership helps conscious people (like you!) live a more meaningful life through actionable guide, inspiring art, thought-provoking content and a like-minded community.BECOME A MEMBER
This article is part of our series on the theme of Welcome.EXPLORE Welcome
Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.VIEW OUR THEMES