Updated: Jun 20, 2021
"Don't just do something, stand there" is a simple and strong Buddhist saying.
Yes, you read that correctly. Rather than follow the sentiment of "Don't just stand there, do something", this perspective is about the mindful pause.
When you are faced with a situation that requires a reaction and action, stand there and take a breath. Access your surroundings and yourself. Often these few seconds or minutes (depending on the urgency) can make a difference in the success of your action.
Here's one of my examples:
My 89-year mom (at the time) was in a Rehabilitation Center for a broken ankle. She had a heavy, hard, non-weightbearing cast on her leg for one month. She was itchy, uncomfortable and her hip was starting to hurt from the pull of the cast. She was scheduled for her follow-up Orthopedic appointment for a soft weight-bearing cast replacement and the ability to advance with her Physical Therapy (and get out of ReHab!).
I arrived to the ReHab to be told that they had "accidently" scheduled the Ambulette transfer for the next day and so they went ahead and changed the appointment to a week from today - and there was "nothing they could do". I became unusually irate, and starting yelling and repeating "this is not acceptable", "this is not acceptable".
Then I paused. I stepped outside for some air and just stood there. I did some pacing as well, along with some deep breaths! I went back in to try a new approach with a calmer demeanor - to no avail - except that I was able to mentally focus and calculate my next actions.
I searched on my phone for Ambulettes and on the 3rd call (the power of 3!) I found one that could get to us in 45-minutes. I booked it, then called the doctor's office and after explaining the situation, they shifted our appointment to 90-minutes later.
In the end, with that moment of "just standing there" my Mom was able to get the relief she mentally needed and was able to continue on her healing and re-habilitation of her ankle. Eight weeks later she was back on her two feet and walking into her new life in a Senior Living Community - where she's been enjoying living live on a cruise-ship on land!