Aahh! Dolce far Niente. Translation – the Italian’s way of saying “the sweetness of doing nothing.”
That is exactly what I have been doing the last couple of days. Nothing!
But wait, you say, the holidays are over. It’s a brand new year. How could you be doing nothing? You should be working on new resolutions, getting a jump on things, running at breakneck speed, hustling and bustling about for no sane reason other than because that is what American culture has wired us to believe we should be doing.
My race in 2015 went down to the wire…to the very end of the year. It was a tumultuous marathon year at that, and was not run at a slow steady pace. It was long, hard-fought, and fast paced. So much so, at times, I could not even catch my breath.
It was filled with unexpected back-to-back challenges, obstacles, and hurdles. The kind that forever change you. The kind that strengthen you, sharpen you, and give you Olympic status without ever being an Olympian.
I crossed the finish line and emerged victoriously! Thank you very much.
But, if you expect me to be excited about the prospect of starting a new race at break pace speed without taking a few selfish moments – no, make that days to myself – then you clearly don’t know me.
Thus, I’ve decided to take a page from our Italian friends and do nothing. And not feel guilty about it.
For those of you who experienced the kind of year that I did or can relate to this article in any way, I invite you to join me in luxuriating in the sweetness of doing nothing. Come on, join me right now and just pause for a second…
Trust me, you will not only have time to catch up to everyone else, but pass many of them later because you as an individual will be better for having taken a moment to do nothing.
So what is “Dolce far Niente?” It is exactly whatever you determine it to be. Your nothing doesn’t have to be like my nothing. It should be whatever you want it to be. Whatever brings you peace, joy and centeredness. Whatever relaxes, re-ignites, and re-energizes you. Ultimately, whatever makes you happy.
For me the sweetness of doing nothing plays out like this:
- Being Still – It is an opportunity for me to get off the hamster wheel, stop running, and just sit down for no good reason whatsoever other than because that is what I want to do. It means not being on a schedule. No commitments. Laying around. And most importantly sleeping as long as I want. (I LOVE sleeping.) Being still gives me the opportunity to get in tune with my body and my feelings. It is the way I recharge and center myself. For some, I know this would be a challenge, but trust me when I say, I must have unknown Italian roots because being still doesn’t bother me a bit. As a matter of fact, nothing warms my heart more than when I call my mom and ask what she is doing and she laughs and responds, “sittin on it.” This means she is curled up in her favorite chair and ottoman – doing nothing.
- Becoming one with my thoughts – Doing nothing gives me an opportunity to be alone with my own thoughts. That’s right. My thoughts! Not my families, not my colleagues, not my friends, not the TV, the news, or social media. Just mine! I know being alone with one’s own thoughts can be scary for some and novel for others. Not me. Because I am a creative, doing nothing often gives me the space or blank canvas I need to create my next masterpiece. At least in my mind. It gives me the quiet needed to let my imagination wander off in delightful flights of fancy. Which brings me to my third point.
- Daydreaming – I love to daydream. I dream in vivid color and often escape to far away exotic places that involve soaking in the beauty of nature, the calming influence of water, relaxation, good food, and drinks. Yep, that’s right. I don’t wait to go on vacation to take a vacation. I sometimes slip away with a bubble bath, some peaceful, zen music, and a glass a wine. Years ago, I worked in a small cramped cubicle in the ever-changing fast paced world of telecom. But, I could be on the beach in the blink of an eye when I needed a break. How? My cubicle wall was covered in tropical beach locations for any time I needed to get away – and do nothing. Don’t worry, my boss totally approved, and I had my best performance ever that year.
These are just some of the things that I enjoy when I’m doing nothing. But remember, it’s not about me, it’s about you, finding and defining your own moments of nothing. Take a moment, indulge yourself and share with us how you luxuriate in the sweetness of doing nothing.
And if you have never experienced doing nothing, it is an absolute must that you stop this moment and discover what that feeling is like for you.
Delight in “Dolce far Niente.” No guilt. No judgement. I dare you!