A Pillow Book

I wanted a blog to reflect my life and, as with most people, I do and am many things, decided to create a Pillow Book. It will have thoughts, ideas, observations and little snippets of my day to day life. So, thank you Empress Consort Teishi....... I bow to you and your great work and hope, in some small way, mine might be great too.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Dolce Far Niente....

Delicious idleness is something northern Europeans find hard to achieve. Is it the climate? Or protestant work ethic that makes the very concept of sweet doing nothing so alien to us? I would say the same of our North American cousins. But travel south, and the closer to the Equator anywhere in the world dolce far niente is a daily occurence.

As a child I can recall frequently lying in the sun, with nothing to do, just watching an ant crawl up a blade of grass. Or on a beach, trickling the sand through my fingers, listening to the shingle move with the waves. But now I feel guilty if I sit and do nothing. But is that nothing not restorative and good for our total well being?

I attended my Aunty Jean's funeral last week. It was a Humanist Ceremony, a celebration of a life, poetry and letters shared and favourite music played, there was time for us to sit and think, recall or to really listen to the music. My Aunt loved the arts and was a great letter writer but the one thing that struck me was my cousin telling of how, when he was a small boy, on trips to London after lunch they would visit an art gallery. There he would be sent off to look at whatever he wished whilst my Aunt would sit in front of a favourite painting for some time and just look, say nothing but take in all that was in front of her. I am sad I never knew she did this, and sadder still that I never had the chance to sit alongside her and just look too. But I do know that she,  in her heart, understood la dolce far niente.

I was lucky enough to  spend an afternoon of delicious idleness last week, I sat in a pub garden, in a beautiful English village, with the surprising warmth of the sun on my back and a special friend beside me. We spoke of life, of love, of grief, and sometimes we just sat and listened to the sounds of children playing, or watched two robins hopping about in the sunshine. A rare time of stillness for us both, but a perfect gift to each in busy lives. This week has made me stop and consider, and I have promised to myself that I shall find, as often as possible, time for nothing, time for really listening to favourite music, time for really looking at paintings or the flowers in the garden, or maybe the faces of those that I love. Because this I know, moments of still contemplation give us time to take order reflect and go on with surety and strength, they are not moments wasted but moments that make us whole.

So, listen to I what say, have some sweet doing nothing time this week and know  you will be all the better for it, that, I most certainly know.....