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  • Thomas Bien

The Art of Being

In Italian there is a wonderful expression: Il dolce far niente. It means the sweetness of doing nothing. When I told my Italian friend I liked this expression, he responded, “That’s what lazy people say.” Perhaps he has a point. But at the same time, for many of us, the problem isn’t being lazy. The problem is being too busy. And when we are too busy, we become distracted, out of touch with life. When we are out of touch with life, we are not truly alive. There may be a beautiful sunrise or the smile of a child right around us, but we don’t notice it. We miss it. We miss life.

We are proud of being busy. We brag about it. It makes us feel important. When was the last time you heard someone say, “I don’t have enough to do”? And if we pay attention, if we do have a moment when we are not rushing about, you may detect a little bit of anxiety, as though we do not really count for anything if we aren’t hurrying on to the next thing.

When that happens, see about slowing it down a little bit instead of desperately finding something to fill the time. Hold that feeling in spacious awareness, and open to the many wonderful things around you and inside you.

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If you want to be more alive and happy, try doing a little less, but doing it more mindfully, deeply, fully present.

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