Doing By Not Doing - A Reflection On This Family Constellations Retreat

I’m about halfway through day two of this Family Constellations training and retreat. Pictured is the labyrinth at the retreat center.

A repeating message that I’ve been hearing during this training is the power of ‘doing by not doing.’

What that means is sometimes our rush to do something when faced with an issue is what puts us deeper in quicksand. Doing by not doing is a really powerful practice. To consciously choose to pause and wait for an answer to come to you instead of grasping for it brings new solutions in.

This is very different from procrastination, where you’re not doing because of various internal or external barriers, or the task at hand is out of alignment with who you are.

Doing by not doing is a conscious decision. I try to employ it in session and in workshops as much as possible. Often, the less I’m doing, the better the experience is for other people.

Sometimes this is as simple as letting silence hang for a few extra moments. This is great because the person I’m working with is invited in to share too. Either of us can choose to fill the silence if we feel called to.

Or sometimes I direct the work down a new path that allows the person to pull in more resources that give them the best possible chance of finding an answer that really works for them. In effect, this again takes the focus or pressure off me to problem solve.

To fellow healers, therapists, coaches - do you ever feel like the people you work with are looking at you for an answer? Do you feel pressure to solve their puzzle? What would happen if you didn’t take part in that and engaged in doing by not doing? What might come from that?

Nick Werber