Making Progress By Doing Nothing


I love to write. I love to produce content. Love, love, love. As I sit down in front of my laptop, the words come. They flow. It’s like something or someone is pouring words into my being, and the words come through my fingertips. It’s this beautiful symbiosis of heart, mind, brain and hands.


I’ve done nothing since July. I haven’t sat down to write a single post or article; I haven’t brought through the guides, I haven’t recorded a single podcast. And, guess what? It’s been one of the most strangely “productive” and fruitful periods I’ve had.

It took a while for my Moon in Capricorn (conjunct Saturn!) self to calm down. The lack of productive output and tangible achievement made my Capricorn Moon decidedly uncomfortable. (I admitted this to my email list; and guess what? No one judged me).

I just didn’t feel like producing anything new. I even sat down on an article and didn’t publish because I just didn’t feel like it. Here’s what the last 9 weeks have taught me: those High Priestess-like feelings of restraint are your inner guidance speaking. Something within me knew it was time to pause. The thing is that we are so intent on talking ourselves out of these supposedly self-indulgent don’t-feel-like-it responses, that we often shut ourselves off from the gifts we are to gain. In our output-driven and results-oriented modern culture, we are deeply suspicious of doing nothing. There’s never a good enough reason for not trying to effect progress by taking some sort of physical action toward your goal or dream. The mantra is to keep going. Keep producing.

In my case, the gifts I received from doing nothing weren’t “tangible” in the least. But they were so crucially important for me to receive. Uncannily, a psychic-intuitive friend of my stepdad said to me, as we sat down to chat in my Tarot cottage a few weeks ago, that once I figured out the gift of this period of slow-down, I would be able to move forward. I needed to accept the gift that this period of doing nothing had in store for me.

Man oh man, was he right. By turning my production schedule on its head, by going through the resistance and discomfort of not doing what is so natural to me (being “productive”), I was able to HEAR the direction that my inner guidance was trying to lead me toward, in the next phase of my work. Had I not stopped, I wouldn’t have come across certain bodies of information and certain people who had the critical keys to my next move.

Progress is never ever about physical results. It is always, always, always about the inner energetic shifts and new levels of awareness that lead to more effective ways of being in the world. The progress I experienced was on an inner, energetic level. New things dawned on me, new approaches unfolded in my awareness that I would not have otherwise been in a position to receive.

making-progress-tara-nikitaThis reminds me of the Hanged Man in the Tarot: – his outer action slows down in the physical world, but the numerology of the Hanged Man (1+2 = 3), reminds us that there is progress, movement, and a catalytic process happening.  For the Hanged Man, this catalytic process and progress is happening on the inner planes. As his halo suggests, there are inner leaps of consciousness occurring while he does nothing.

I realized even more the value of listening to my inner guidance. Even when it doesn’t seem to make sense. In this period I terminated an agreement to work for someone because intuitively it didn’t feel right, though it looked good on paper. I realized with more acuity that I don’t have to do things like other people. Especially in the world of [online] business, it never seems to let up: be on social media, tweet tweet tweet, retweet, send your newsletters, produce new content, instagram, instgram, periscope. More, more, more, more. Don’t become irrelevant! Keep posting! Keep guest-blogging!

(The interesting thing is that I never saw a decrease in clients; on the contrary, my number of sales increased).

I decided that I’d simply do what felt right and what felt good. I allowed myself to use social media in ways that felt enjoyable to me. As I sat down in meditation recently, I heard this ring out from the deep space of silence I was in: “It’s not your twittering that gets you anywhere, Tara. It’s your energy, and your vibration that allows you to bring your work to others.” Honestly, if I could put a tone to the voice, it sounded a lot like Professor Snape…emphasis on the “twittering”, a slight curl of the lip, a tiny little bit of a sneer…but in the most loving way.


The circulation model of energy flies in the face of conventional paradigms and social norms. We feel we progress linearly toward some defined goal; whether it’s toward “enlightenment”, or toward something rather more mundane (but in truth, no less spiritually edifying) like building a business.

The Wheel of Fortune in the Tarot cues us in to this subtle but powerful truth: sometimes things are in their “ascendancy”, sometimes things are in their “descendancy”, and it all works together beautifully to produce the moving whole. Progress happens, but it is more circular. We go through periods of intense output, then we might pull back. We might produce more cupcakes in our baking business, then we might say enough with the cupcakes, let’s do some more cheesecakes instead. The following year we might resurrect the cupcakes, and it’ll be quite appropriate. The lack of output doesn’t mean a lack of progress.

I don’t know if it is at all natural that we go onward and upward all the time. I think not. I think there are natural times for retreat. For letting our inner guidance slowly percolate through us. There are times not to act, or not to act in the ways we’ve become used to. Sometimes we need to retreat to allow the next cycle to unfold in our consciousness.

Sometimes it’s in doing nothing that we make the most progress.




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