Nella Coiro

Author, Forgiveness Coach & Online Instructor

Delicious Idleness

Recently, I watched the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” again. This time I was particularly struck by the Italian phrase, “il dolce far niente”, which loosely translates to mean “the sweetness of doing nothing” or ”delicious idleness”.  For some reason, the depth of this concept escaped me which I saw this movie a few years ago.  I guess that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.  
So, in Italy, people feel that it’s very important to make relaxation a part of their day.  Italians take time to smell the roses.  When I pondered this, I realized that it’s been a while since I’ve savored the moment and stopped whatever I was doing to watch a sunset or inhale the sweet aroma of a beautiful flower.  In fact, it’s been too long.  
Even the idea of doing nothing seems stressful.  We seem to feel that we have to fill every moment with activity or we’re wasting time.  Have we become so conditioned to believe that our value is based upon how busy we are?  
Heres a question to ponder: Where is the race? Where are we heading to in such a rush? Are we rushing so fast to nowhere that we’re missing the magnificence in the present moment?  I think that we are becoming so busy that we might have forgotten how to enjoy life. We also put a lot of self imposed pressure on ourselves.  How much of it is really necessary?  
We have somehow lost our way and have forgotten the beauty that can be found in serenity and peacefulness.  Maybe it’s time to take a close look at the sweetness that can be found in doing nothing.  
Gradually we get better at keeping our thoughts in the now, resting our minds and enjoying these precious moments of leisure. The only thing that matters is living the moment, absent of stress or expectations. Our goal is simply to enjoy the moment - savoring it second by second.
Ill dolce far niente is a state of mind and means something different to each of us. 
What brings joy to your heart and replenishes your soul?
Maybe it watching a breath-taking sunset or sitting on a beach. So, whatever it might be for you, just consider taking time to stop doing and just be. 
Just be completely in the moment and see what happens.


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Hi Nella, I love this movie. I didn’t remember this scene but I enjoyed your blog. I find it so hard to do nothing, as you say. My thoughts are always racing and when I’m idle, I feel like I’m wasting time. Your blog make me think about this. This week I began to take walks and it was so relaxing and rejuvenating. Thanks for a terrific topic!






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