The sweetness of doing nothing! I learned about this, not in Italy, as you may surmise, rather from a movie, entitled, Eat, Pray, Love. Julia Roberts is in Italy – my homeland I have yet to see. For more context, check out the excerpt of the movie if you would like in the link.
The art of doing nothing is the very nature of my move to Jamaica, such irony, an Italian in Jamaica who has never been to her homeland yet, after one trip to Jamaica fell in love; and has since decided she will spend the rest of her life in Jamaica! I am excited about what the future holds though there have been many challenges already along the way.
I think life is simple, everything you love, love it the best way possible, play the best way possible, spend what you have the best way possible, you get the picture. The operative words here are at the end of the sentence. Do you see where this is headed? I want to do everything in the best way possible and yet still live simply and with excellence. And yet that does not negate or work contrary to “la dolce far niente.”
Here is the thing though – this is cultural, this is virtuous . The art of doing nothing is not so easily accepted by all people groups. In fact, Americans don’t take to this lightly, in my experience, that is, the art of doing nothing. This is how, as we know, traditions are carried down from generation to generation! And in my American experience it has been more like a rat race not virtuous and certainly not la dolce far niente. More like chaotic and messy…
After spending approximately half my life raising children and giving too much time to messy and chaotic, circumstances presented themselves, and here I find myself on this beautiful island, and with the man of my dreams. Yep, dreams do come true even when you are old, broken and still beautiful.
Psychology Today wrote an article on this topic and whose understanding I share.
The problem with taking a virtue of one culture and placing it in another is it disrupts the status quo, the daily living that a society implicitly agrees to is what goes, and somehow most just fall in line, in some societies there not even be the freedom to adopt such virtues and if and when possible, that you adopt characteristics of a culture to live by that look drastically different from the familiar, that can be challenging for some to overcome, we, humans, like familiar.
I always felt offended in some ways when I met other cultured people in the United States that did not have family dinners on Sundays. Just like I know people who are so busy trying to keep up with the Jones and the “art of doing nothing” is nowhere on their agenda even if they wanted to!
To hear the beautiful sound of an Italian man saying, “ dolce far niente”, go here.