I love the scene in movie-version of the book Eat, Pray, Love when Elizabeth is in an Italian barber shop with a friend and these old Italian men are talking about how we Americans are always doing, doing, doing. They talk about how every Italian knows the “art of doing nothing.”
Don’t you just smile when you read these words?! An image of eating gelato on a warm day in Italy comes to mind. Ahhh, my heart exhales and expands.
Surely THIS is a Lenten practice that can draw us closer to a joyful, fanciful, whimsical…and even downright wise God — the art of doing nothing!
As much as I am mindful of the number of activities our family is involved in, as much as Brian and I have made conscious choices to forgo some great opportunities in order for us to actually BE together as a family (including living and working in the same small town so we don’t spend hours commuting), and as much as I bring attention and intention to my daily life, I STILL find that I am a product of our culture! And we are a culture addicted to hurry. We are addicted to doing. We don’t value doing nothing, we value results. And I fall into this trap all the time.
But the times when I just pause for awhile and do nothing – from napping to just HANGING with my family – I find that balance is restored. I catch up with my own self. I stop and sense the Divine blooming, smiling, dancing, laughing, eating gelato (or JP Licks in Davis Square!), and exhaling ALL AROUND ME. Ahhhhhhhhh.
Ok so, one of my words for the year is soften — I’m softening my grip on that “results” list in my head and even just for the rest of the night (the 20 minutes that’s left of it!), I’m basking in doin’ Lent Italian style — doing nothing.
Now that is meditation. That is prayer.
Good night sweet ones.