So you're going/have gone on a vacation, aren't you? Well, the weekend will come up, and you'll have some sort of break–your to-do list non-withstanding.
But you won't take a break. No you won't. You'll do something silly. Like filling it up with stuff.
How about filling it with idleness instead?
Yeah, idleness. As in doing nothing. Yes, we know you've got a million things to do. But idleness can't wait.
The western world in particular have forgotten what it means to be idle. To just sit under a tree and do nothing. Not read. Not scold your kids. Certainly not pick up the phone. Just sit and watch the world go by.
Idleness isn't as crazy a concept as you think. You DO NOT have to fill your day with stuff. You don't have to visit every monument on your vacation. It's more beneficial to do nothing. As in N-O-T-H-I-N-G.
Can you do nothing?
Can you? Can you? Can you do nothing for even a day this weekend? How about for an hour then?
Try it. Just be lazy. Just watch butterflies. Or watch the mould growing. But be idle.
Because as an ancient Chinese saying goes: Man who sits by river all day, and doesn't think it's a waste of time, is a wise man.
C. A. Kobu says
Great post! Thank you.
There’s this famous joke. Socrates said, “To do is to be.” Sartre said, “To be is to do.” Frank Sinatra said, “Do-be-do-be-do!”
I’ll take the Sinatra version. Sometimes we have to empty our minds, get rid of our to-do lists and just celebrate the healing power of being without doing. It has magical powers. Afterwards, you feel recharged and rejuvenated. It might require some practice though. In the Western world we’re so conditioned to ‘do’ and to ‘be productive’ all the time that we have lost the connection with our inner silence and serenity. Being without doing and doing without doing are also possible.
Manfred Max-Neef list idleness as one of the human needs. I quite agree.
Did you HAVE to mention watching the mould growing?!
I’ve been idly watching the brie as it morphs and, with one little hint, whoosh goes my idleness…
No worries. Given the weather, I’d be better off practising by watching the weeds going feral.
Richard Michie says
I was going to write a long comment but
Christian Russell says
Being still is one of the things we all struggle with. So many don’t even see the point. It is of huge importance.
Jae Smith says
I am a Westerner and trust me, learning the importance of idleness is a foreign concept to most Americans. I tried it for an hour and I was amazed at how doing so recreated a new reservoir of creative energy. I had more ideas for writing than I could “shake a stick at” so to speak. This is a much needed exercise. Ooops! Forgive me, “exercise” is a verb. You get the picture. :þ
allan g. lie says
A good concept that’s been around for a long time… even printed in a very old book. 😉
“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)”
Jae Smith says
Hmmmm…watching clouds…what a sublime place in which to dwell…thank you for teaching one of life’s important lessons, although philosophical.
Sean D'Souza says
We usually take a huge chunk of time off. Just to do nothing. I’ve gotten awfully good at watching clouds.
Chris Owen says
A very salutory reminder thanks Sean!
Anthony Pfeiffer says
For everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
This morning I am writing a report about time management for 1st time moms and dads. I can hear their arguments in my head. As I do my best to take another deep breath and hang out as I write…