I daydream on Sundays of curling up with a good book. Even taking an afternoon nap or bath. I feel guilty though about ‘doing nothing’. More often than not I talk myself out of it. Instead I trudge forth being as purposeful as I can be in a relaxed way. But how relaxing is it really to scrub the shower, clean the toilets and try and remove the dog hair from the carpet?
For me right now, there is such a strong call to relax, to take a break and be gentle with myself. Yet I find it so difficult to do this. I am far from lazy. I always have a task or two on the boil to be achieved. My head is always busy. It never stops. I don’t want to be lazy. However, I do need to just stop and be.
You may recall the book, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ when the main character, surrounded by her friends, explore the Italian concept of Il Dolce Far Niente. The sweetness of doing nothing. I love that part of the book. Il Dolce Far Niente is like a carrot I dangle in front of my own nose. If I finish my mountain of chores, I can enjoy the sweetness of the moment. It can be a simple as savouring a bite of mouthwateringly velvet chocolate until it melts away on my tongue. Bah! as a perennial multi-tasker I tend to savour many bits of chocolate as I dash here there and everywhere. I forget to savour so take another mouthful in a bid to capture a moment that is once again lost in yet another task. I’m a bit like Dory in a goldfish bowl in that regard. Short term memory and a penchant for repeating patterns (and eating chocolate!).
I daydream of holidaying on a beach somewhere. The feeling of a salty, frangipani scented sea breeze caressing my skin as I curl up with a good book without guilt. We work hard to earn a good quality of life. Yet so many of us are terrible at taking some time for ourselves each day to just be in the moment, doing nothing without distraction of computers, social media, the television, or phones. How wonderful would that be?
Some Cultures Embrace the Practice of Doing Nothing
Italy is a country that embraces relaxation through doing nothing. They really get the gist of stepping off the treadmill of life each day to just take a breathe and just be. Resting is a birthright. You are only living a minuscule part of your life if you are not taking in the sensual pleasures of the moment. For most of western society rest is to be earned only after you have sprinted toward the point of reaching exhaustion. Up until that point, the desire for indulging in rest seems to carry a sense of guilt.
The Benefits of Really Doing Nothing
Just reflect how you are when you are on holiday. It often takes the most part of a week for your body and mind to feel rested. We carry so much stress from maintaining a constant stream of busyness. Even if that activity consists of being on social media, watching TV and doing housework.
Sometimes we need to just do absolutely ‘nothing’. This may consist of meditating, listening to music, daydreaming, napping, just sitting and looking out the window, laying on the grass looking up at the clouds, or reading a good book. Anything that enables us to slow our breathing rate right down. Wouldn’t this practice provide us with a mini holiday, enabling us to feel rejuvenated? Would we not be less prone to stress and anxiety as a society if we could take this time to just ‘be’ without guilt?
Feature photo courtesy of Pixabay
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