Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Il bel far niente
Yesterday, Mary Kate commented about a book called Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Glbert. I haven't read it, but I heard about it on the radio last month. I took a 915 mile car trip to attend a family reunion. 915 miles in a car all by yourself gives one lots of time to think and to listen to CDs and the radio.
I have XM radio in my car and had tuned to a women's talk station. Amidst the regular programming, they had a short blurb by a woman who talked about this book and about how many women feel that every minute of every day must be filled with something worthwhile. If we're not doing something then we must be doing nothing and doing nothing isn't good.
"Why?" she asked. "Why does every minute have to be filled with something?" Why can't we do nothing and enjoy it? Is it the Puritan work ethic that's been pounded into us from birth? Do we believe we can't set a good example for our children if we're not slaving over something every moment? Will our husbands/family/neighbors/whatever think we're lazy?
I think many women are conditioned to believe they have to always be in the midst of some task. Of course our natural ability to multi-task doesn't help. How many of you have cooked dinner, made the next day's lunches, fielded a phone call from your mother, scheduled the next month's vacation, sorted the mail and assisted with a child's homework all at the same time?
I see the heads nodding.
When's the last time you did nothing and actually enjoyed it? When did you sit back on a beach or a mountain top or on board a cruise ship -- or even just in your back yard -- and do nothing but listen to the wind or feel the sun warming your skin or smell the freshness of the air?
When did you last engage in "il bel far niente" -- the beauty of doing nothing?
Yeah, yeah... I know. If we all did nothing, nothing would get accomplished. I'm not talking about sitting back forever. I'm talking about sitting back for a morning or afternoon to recharge, rejuvenate, relax. To let your mind concentrate on nothing.
Here's a little clip from a roadside stop I made on my trip back home. I could sit and watch this for hours. And isn't the sound soothing?
And here's a bunch of people who are expending way too much energy, not to mention getting into water that's so cold it makes your muscles cramp.
Did you do a little "nothing" over the Labor Day weekend? I did. Well, if reading Maven Linda's latest book can be described as nothing.
P.S. schwartzbergj is yesterday's winner. Please email Nalini for your prize.