The Sweetness of Doing Nothing


“There’s nothing sweeter than falling in love with the moment we’re given, the only one we have.”  — Marcia Smalley

I saw the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” for the first time the other night, and enjoyed it. Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey reminds me at times of my own, except I did most of my traveling in my twenties and thirties, before I settled down to a regular career in libraries. Sometimes I cannot even remember all the countries I have experienced! I count at least 10 just in Asia…

But one line struck home for me, an apparently common Italian phrase: “The sweetness of doing nothing.” In this part of the film a barber is explaining to Liz the difference between Americans and Italians. And the more I thought about that idea, the more I agreed.

In my travels in France and Italy, I was struck by how relaxed and happy most people were compared to us. I can see how Europeans might see us as too busy, too serious, always in a hurry, pressured and uptight. I remember hearing children singing together on their way home from school as they walked the narrow, cobblestone paths of Venice, an indelible glimpse into a completely different way of life.

The Spanish Peaks in the ghostly morning light!

The Spanish Peaks in the ghostly early morning light!

Only now, since we moved to a rural area and as I recover from a new brain injury, do I appreciate the simplicity and peace of doing nothing.

past better not bitterThis is something I was not raised on, and the guilt is still present with me, but I work everyday to cultivate this art. My goals are to heal my brain while also healing my past. Now I embrace every moment I can find to sit in silence and appreciate my life. I am filled with gratitude that I can now live like this forever…  Instead of worrying about the past or demanding more of my future, I can now just be here, loving my life. Learn more about our adventure. How we ended up down here, etc. in my new memoir!

16 thoughts on “The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

  1. “The sweetness of doing nothing” — it even sounds beautiful, doesn’t it?
    Yes, we really have been conditioned to feel guilty about ‘doing nothing’, haven’t we? Thank you for reminding me to stop. I’ve been going for days and I think it’s time to enjoy some of that sweetness.
    (I hope you’re going to check out “Big Magic” too?)


  2. As crazy as it sounds I committed for the entire 2015 year to spending some time each week being bored. Doing nothing. Daydreaming. Letting my mind wander are. It has been life-changing.


  3. Yes, did you know that much of our inspiration to try something new and different comes from simply doing nothing? I always remember a phrase from my distant past: If you don’t know what to do, do nothing until you do!


  4. Americans always seem so “full on” to me – they aren’t as laid back as Aussies (and Italians) and it must add to your stress levels. Enjoy your quiet moments and don’t let guilt raise its ugly head 🙂


  5. I haven’t experienced Italy, but it’s a life goal of mine to get there one day. Their lifestyle does seem very relaxed and joyful and definitely something us Americans should learn to do better. Eat, Pray, Love is a wonderful sentiment to live by.


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