Consciously switching off…
‘Twixtmas’ – the time between Christmas and New Year – can feel a little strange… a succession of languid days which many view as a period of discombobulating unease.
But what if we could cultivate the art of enjoying such empty timelessness…?
The Italians have a phrase : “Dolce Far Niente,” which means ‘the sweetness of doing nothing’.
It does not mean being lazy; it is referring to the pleasure one gets from being idle, and the ability to completely enjoy and savour such moments.
For Italians, this concept is a part of everyday life; spending time with friends at a café, sipping wine at sunset, taking a stroll around the moonlit piazza. Dolce Far Niente is something Italians embrace.
Perhaps we could borrow a leaf out of their book…?
We complain about being busy all the time, but are we simply bowing to societal pressure to measure our worth according to what we’ve accomplished?
The phrase, ‘I am busy’ has become almost a status symbol, where the busier you are, the more important you are perceived as being. And so we continue to cram clutter into our physical, mental and psychological space.
But burning bright and burning out are becoming increasingly synonymous, and perhaps it is time to cultivate a new measuring system.
If you took the time every day or every week to experience Dolce Far Niente, how would it change your quality of life?
Some ways to experience Dolce Far Niente in your life :
Jettison the guilt We live in a society full of planners, producers, and consumers and ‘success’ is measured by how much we get done and what we accomplish. Getting rid of guilt about your to-do list or what you ‘should’ be doing will help you fully experience some Dolce Far Niente moments.
Disconnect! Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are not Dolce Far Niente. Getting lost online drains energy. The “sweetness of doing nothing” is the exact opposite. If disconnecting entirely for a day sounds like an impossible task, start in small doses. Turn your devices off an hour earlier each night or resolve to enjoy your breakfast without staring at your phone or iPad.
Turn off your TV Watching TV can be a stress reliever, but in excess, it robs you of your time. Give up TV for an hour and replace it with a good book or a walk in nature.
Live without your phone for a day… or longer! By all means find an alternate way for your loved ones to reach you in an emergency, but ditch your phone completely for a significant period of time. You may begin to realise how addicted you’ve become…
Have a regular day of rest This is an important ritual that many religions still observe, whether it’s Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Having a day of rest is a practical, self-nurturing concept, but in our 24/7 world, most people have lost touch with this practice. Try declaring one day of the week (or month) as a do-nothing day; skip the chores, ignore your work emails, stay home, enjoy your family, and savour the day.
Find your inner artist Draw a picture, write a poem, practice guitar, try a new recipe. Taking the time to cultivate your creativity is relaxing and a good way to discover what is inspiring and beautiful around you.
Revisit Nap-time Research has consistently shown that a daily snooze can reduce the risk of heart attack and lower stress levels. This quiet moment of nothing can be profoundly revitalising.
What surfaces in this gap is Life – where our ego vanishes and our true self emerges. It is the state of Being.
Creation emerges out of nothingness.
Try it. You might hate it to begin with, but stick with it.
There is, I promise you, profound healing in this gap.