Saturday, March 26, 2011

La Dolce Far Niente

La Dolce Far Niente/It is sweet to do nothing

A few days ago, my three year old spent nearly two bliss-filled hours playing with water in the sink. I watched his childlike joy and fascination of his world--a joy that children naturally radiate, but that most adults have long since abandoned. I wrote it off as simply something no longer possible for adults to enjoy. Life is simply too busy for such idle pleasures.

A few days ago, I started watching the movie Eat, Pray, Love. My body and mind have been too restless to watch it straight through in one sitting, but luckily I don't mind spreading it out over the course of several days. One part of the movie that has really spoken to me is something the main character learns about called "la dolce far niente," which, in Italian, literally means "it is sweet to do nothing." Here is a wonderful explanation of la dolce far niente in the context of the movie.

 After doing some research on this business of "doing nothing," I realized that since I got sick, Lyme disease has already given me gentle nudges in the direction of la dolce far niente. My absolute favorite way of achieving sweet, blissful nothingness is to lie on the grass at the stable with horses grazing nearby. They radiate a peace that we humans--who have become addicted to Facebook, emailing, texting, blogging, television, etc.--have lost in our daily lives. Horses embody all that is la dolce far niente, and perhaps that is what draws me to them.

But while I can easily enjoy la dolce far neinte at the stable, doing it at home is another story for me--complete with a million distractions blocking my way. This is embarrassing to admit, but over the past few months, I've developed quite an addiction to my phone. I even confess to frequently texting from the bathtub! Yesterday, after setting my mind on achieving la dolce far niente, I took a bath and purposely left my phone behind. Also left behind were other sources of my usual distractions: books, magazines, music, etc. I wanted to really and truly do nothing.

The funny thing is, after a few minutes in the tub without anything to occupy my mind, I noticed myself humming and singing out loud. Without thinking about it, I rolled over on my stomach in the tub and blew bubbles in the water. I made shadow figures on the wall. Without all of my usual distractions, I was surprised to realize I had naturally turned into my three year old! Then it dawned on me that I had just achieved that childlike bliss that I'd been admiring in my child a few days before and thought was no longer possible as an adult: la dolce far niente.

1 comment:

  1. :) I like to stare at the wall and think my thoughts.