What is it that makes the practice of doing nothing so uncomfortably challenging? In my rose-colored world I like to think that I am quite talented at this form of art – and I do believe doing nothing (and by doing nothing I mean fully resting) is in fact a rare and exquisite art.
This entire week I have been off work and for the first day or two this was positively dazzling! I read, I wrote, and I went for long gorgeous runs. By day number three however, I was clothed with the shredded whispers of busyness. The truth of the matter is, all I really wanted to do was extend my pathetically short sabbatical of literature indulgences, but these pesky voices of the American society crippled every ability to graciously allow myself to enter in to the next chapter of my book or spew out another mild attempt at poetry. These voices greet me in the morning even before I climb out of bed. The first thing they say is; “What are you going to do today?” then they will actually climb into bed with me and start prodding me with lists; “You should get up and go out for at least a 6-miler. There is a long list of scholarships you really need to start applying for. It’s a sunny day, how can you even think about taking a nap this afternoon when you should be outside enjoying the weather.” On and on they go. They are prostitutes selling phony ideas of self-worth and cheapening the beauty of rest. I told them to bugger off.
In the book Eat, Pray, Love, author Elizabeth Gilbert portrays Italians as being the masters in the skill of doing nothing. It’s quite comical really; how entrenched I become in the vibrant descriptions of the Italian people. As I dash into sentence three, I have already left the living room couch and commenced my own life of photography, writing, passionin Italy. Instead of Elizabeth Gilbert painting a picture of her journey through words, I am forming my own adventure – all daydreams of course, but it is my own none-the-less.
I want to be a better rest-er. I’ve never been one to make resolutions at the turn of a new year, but I think growing familiar through a deep relationship with this art is going to be a fresh intention of mine. Just as Jesus rebuked the draping whores of busyness and instead, reclined with his friends for hours over the dinner table, so too I long to shut out the noise and prop my feet up on the table and carry on in my daydreams of waltzing through Italy. My Nikon is packed, I’m ready to go… Florence here I Come.