Dreams 101: The Art of Doing Nothing

Bruno Mars glorifies it in his currently hit, The Lazy Song. In Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert discovered it in Rome Italy while taking a day to read the paper and make her self a slow-cooked breakfast. So what it is?

“Il Dolce Far Niente” – the art of doing nothing.

Cheers to the Art of Doing Nothing–and bright orange wristbands.

The time you spend with yourself or friends with no attention paid to time or no specific agenda or hounding plans to rush off to. You’re just there–in the moment. Appreciating the fact that you are just there–or rather here, on earth as the wonderful person you are.

Today I don’t feel like doing anything

I just wanna lay in my bed

Don’t feel like picking up my phone, so leave a message at the tone

‘Cause today I swear I’m not doing anything

Nothing at all, nothing at all

-Bruno Mars The Lazy Song

At my day job now, I am responsible for launching a couple hundred websites in the coming months. This past week in particular included completing five of them.

Needless to say, I was a little tried from the all nighters and constantly high-stress pace.

This weekend, however, I slowed down. I blocked out my calendar, turned off my ringtone, and focused on one thing I had been looking forward to–attending a food and wine fest.

I sipped local wines, sampled local tapas on sat on a picnic blanket with my boyfriend surrounded by soft acoustic music swirling through soaring pine trees and mountains. It was magical :)

Sure it wasn’t a lot, or a big deal. It didn’t advance my career, it didn’t make me money, but it made me smile–boundlessly. (It probably slowed my heart rate, eased my nervous system and increased serotonin, too.)

When I took the time to savor the art of doing nothing, I realized that this is exactly what I dream about doing when I am working my life away at behind an electronic screen.

I dream about doing nothing.

I dream about sitting in the sunshine with a bottle of good wine and hearty food and watching the clouds drift over the mountaintops. Laughing and sharing great conversation with people I love.

Our dreams don’t have to be big to make us happy. They just have to be something to look forward to.

This reminds me of something one of my favorite medical doctors/health pioneers, Dr. Mark Hyman, once said, along the lines of:

Isn’t the dream to live a long, happy life so that when you die you can go to a cabin on a lake somewhere with your lover, cook a healthy, organic meal together, enjoy a wonderful bottle of wine, skinny dip under the stars, make love and then pass away in each others’ arms?

Again, it’s simple, but it’s real. I feel too often we set dreams for ourselves that might never happen. I’m guilty as charged. Instead, let’s focus on what really makes us happy and what we can do now to taste that bliss.

Here’s my simple steps to achieve the art of doing nothing:

  1. Do nothing!

I am only half-way kidding with that one. How about this–think back to the time in your life when you were the happiest. How did you relax back then? Now do that, and see how it feels.

What do you do when you indulge in the art of doing nothing?

Katie


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  • The first thing I would do when my son would go stay with his dad is … nothing.

    I would give myself permission to just lay on the couch and read, or stare out the window … maybe nap … but I would give myself permission to take time off from being a mom, a house-keeper, a responsible parent and just rejuvenate my soul.

    It would usually lead to creative bursts of energy where I would paint, write or garden.

    Great post.

    Cath

  • Carole

    Hi Katie

    How right you are. Laundry can always wait. The “laundry” I was doing was my dog’s stuffed toys. While I was relishing in doing nothing (besides listening to Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga) my husband offered to do the laundry. First that meant sorting through all the toys. I got rid of at least 50 of the ones I sewed and resewed and resewed. Then there was 6 HUGE loads of toys left to wash and dry. That did not include all the kongs, rope toys, etc. And by the end of the night Zohar, my dog had them all out of his toy chest.

    Carole

  • Katie

    Carole-So glad the universe was revealing to you that fact that you should relish in nothingness! Thanks for stopping by, and remember, laundry can always wait in the grand scheme of things :)

  • Carole

    Kathie

    As I was thinking I “should” do laundry, I “should” give the dog a bath, etc I am listening to Bruno Mars CD, “Doo-Wops and Hooligans” (with the Lazy Song on it), and surfing the net. I decided to go to 8 Women Dream. And what is staring me in the face but your article that starts off with “Bruno Mars.” Coincidence??? Who knows. But great article.
    The laundry and other stuff will wait. The dog is being bathed by my husband.
    A lazy day is much more important. I am “doing nothing” well.

    Carole

  • I always hope for sun when I want to do nothing. One super comfy adjustable lounge chair, fun book, cocktail, and my deck.

    The sun just came out, and I need a fun book… other than that, I’m ready!

    – H

    • Andrea

      LOVE THIS. Its so hard to get away from the computer and phone and just L-I-V-E life. To enjoy your own company, the beautiful world and just to be still. Thank you for this post, it’s absolutely lovely! xo

  • Katie

    Lisa-glad you liked the post! We can all use more beautiful moments in our lives. As a former typer-A myself, you have to not feel guilty about taking time to relax and recharge. I know it’s tough, but I’m confident you can do it!

    Remy-the not-so-new job is actually nothing I should complain about, the stress is good and non-frequent and keeps me going, but I am certainly taking care of myself as a top priority and I hope you are too!

  • Remy Gervais, Top Photographer

    great post! SOunds like the new job is stressfullll! good thing you are taking care of yourself.
    xo Rem

  • Lisa

    LOVE THIS post Katie! I am ALL about the “Art of Doing Nothing” now ~ although I definitely have had to learn to give myself permission to enjoy it! I’m one of these born Type-A overachievers who seems to be learning how to slow down and BREATHE as I go ~ I am WAY more mellow now than I was ten or even five years ago.

    And now I appreciate it that those beautiful moments like the one you described with your boyfriend are what we remember in the end – THOSE are the beautiful memories that last (not our accomplishments, or pushing out five Websites in a week!). At least I find that to be true in my own life – with a few notable exceptions, like finishing my book or graduating from Harvard, a lot of my work accomplishments are a “blur” but happy moments with people I love – those last forever. :)

    Here’s to a happy lifetime of beautiful moments of “Doing nothing!”

    Love,
    Lis