La Dolce Far Niente

A general translation for this is, “the sweetness of doing nothing”. It is a reminder to stop and smell the roses.To use the good China. To open that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion. To just BE for a moment in time.

It’s a well honed joke these days about how everyone is together, but in their own little world, usually on personal electronic devices.  There are times we need to disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with the warm, real, tactile world around us. When was the last time you enjoyed doing….well,  nothing?

Know what I did today? After scratching Penny cat’s ears, she lazily stretched, sauntered to a warm stone on my entry way, and languidly laid her form upon the rocks to bask in the afternoon sun. As I sat on the stoop watching her, wondering how could a cat just walk away from everything around her and nap in the light, I rested my head on my knees. And fell asleep.   It was a catnap in the purest sense of the word. It lasted just minutes. Out there, in the sunshine, I lost every care in the world and was able to achieve complete peace. And I felt more rested than I have in months.

We tend to try to micromanage the people and situations on our lives. At some point we must admit that this level of control is an ego-centric construct. We think we feel better about ourselves if we believe we can handle every possibility right down to the day’s rainfall.  It’s silly really. Or so says my cat.  She’d much rather resume that nap.

I may join her.

I have to remind myself once in a while to enjoy the simple pleasure of doing absolutely nothing.  My day is usually so planned, so precise, so restrictive I’m amazed my google calendar isn’t giving me alarm alerts on when I’m allowed to breathe.  I need to give myself permission to enjoy small moments of quiet clarity without a schedule. For a very long time, I wasn’t sure that was possible.

I started small. Part of that objective was learning when to say NO. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to help, or that my  friends and family were unappreciative; it was simply that i was pushing myself beyond my limits and I needed to learn how to respect my OWN boundaries.  The ones who had my best interests at heart understood.

I began to carve out time just for me, and also, just for US. I’m married We still need date nights. Time for us to be just with one another and remind us why we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. I strongly believe this is a vital building block for a lifetime commitment.

But sometimes I need ME time too. It isn’t selfish or wrong. It is what t is, and it helps make me a stronger person inside. It is in these moments I recite the phrase and recommit myself to finding a place in my own soul where i am comfortable.

In moments like this I will open a bottle of wine or a brew a pot of tea, take my time preparing a plate of fruits and cheese and delicious snacks I didn’t need to put much thought or effort into; keeping it simple. I may load up my kayak and go to the lake in this state. I may take a map and go exploring the nearby hills. I may go no further than the 40+ acres we reside on and just melt into the forest floor shadows for a while on a blanket under the wise old oaks.  I need to have time to recall that there truly is a certain sweetness in accomplishing absolutely nothing.

Pick up a book and read it though. Snuggle the puppy. Make cookie dough and eat half the bowl with a friend or your kids.Walk in the rain.   Look closer for those defining moments of internal clarity in the quiet spaces between. I promise, they are there. You just have to want them badly enough.


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