The title of this post translates from the Italian as ‘ Idleness is a beautiful thing’… and, isn’t it just! I’m interpreting idleness as a positive, life enhancing, creatively inviting trait- bring it on! I’ve been thinking, recently, and journaling, about the nature of ‘busy’ and especially how it irritates the heck out of me to see acquaintances of mine proudly wearing their busy-ness like a badge of honour and entitlement to lifelong membership of the Important Grown Ups club. I’m not impressed. Being overly busy- having back to back appointments in my diary, with further layers of daily stuff that needs attention, and further layers still of oughts and shoulds- has never appealed and propels me into overwhelm, and I grind to a halt.
I’ve been trying to think about words which are the opposite of busy. Empty, idle, free? I know that if I clear space in my day to be creative I am giving myself an opportunity to let the good stuff flow in, filling the vacuum. I know if I find myself being ‘busy’ with other things, I am usually avoiding the difficult stuff around the work that I feel I’m put on this earth to do. Tim Ferris says ‘ being busy is a form of laziness- lazy thinking and indiscriminate action’. I recognise that!
The more comfortable I get with myself, the more I can slow down. Paradoxically, I am getting more done as a result. Since making a conscious decision to slow the pace, I am fitter, healthier, happier, nicer to people and more productive. And I’ve stopped bristling with defensive anxiety when I’m asked ‘how are you- busy?’.
So, bring on the idleness. It’s not about sitting around peeling grapes and watching daytime TV. It’s about living mindfully. It provides mental peace and a time to pause, to focus on what matters and what doesn’t matter, what’s missing, the dots that need connecting and the energy to do just that.