By Patricia Beal | @bealpat
The sweetness of doing nothing? I can't figure this out, folks.
I can make the far niente part happen, but it isn’t dolce at all. It's rather uncomfortable.
What exactly is dolce far niente anyway? What is it supposed to feel like and look like? And how in the world do we make it happen in our jam-packed modern lives?
This is so hard for me that I tried to write a different post. I was going to avoid this whole dolce far niente business by writing about Saturday’s royal wedding instead. But then the latest developments involving the bride’s dad broke my heart and took some of the magic out of the anticipation. Best to search for the dolce in my far niente after all…
So what is dolce far niente?
Merriam-Webster says it’s “pleasant relaxation in carefree idleness.”
I can make myself be still, but it’s just not pleasant (or relaxing or carefree). Why? The mind is going at a million miles an hour. Can I make it stop? Yes and no. If I practice it often, I can probably get my thoughts to slow and worries to fade. But…
My brain is trained to be online.
I love it. I’m on Twitter a lot, and on Facebook a lot, and on Instagram, and on Pinterest, and reading emails, and answering emails. To fit all that online interaction in my daily routine (homeschooling mom), I have to think fast, read fast, type fast. There’s some agitation involved. The result of the interaction is sweet, but the process is fast-paced. Can I go from that to “pleasant relaxation in carefree idleness” whenever I want? Can my social media life and dolce far niente co-exist? I’m not sure.
|My Dolce Far Niente Pinterest Board|
Why should I care about dolce far niente anyway?
What’s the big deal? It’s a big deal because I believe it walks hand in hand with God's rhythm of grace. If I can get dolce far niente right, my time with God will improve—quantity and quality. My prayer life will be sweeter.
So what have I tried and want to try?
Here’s what I see as dolce far niente “activities” – watching the rain, watching snow fall, floating in the ocean, looking at clouds, hammock time, watching water when it’s sparkly, sitting on a bench in the woods, watching the sun rise on the beach (cool sand), sitting on a tree, looking up at trees, watching candles burn, listening to soft music, looking out the window, a slow café or restaurant on a slow street…
What do you think? How are you doing on this? Can you help me find the sweetness of doing nothing? Are smartphones the enemy? What do you do that you consider dolce far niente? And, curious minds need to know, are you watching the royal wedding? :)
She now writes contemporary fiction and is represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her debut novel, A Season to Dance, came out in May of 2017 (Bling! / Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). A Portuguese translation will be out in her native Brazil in August of 2018 (Editora Pandorga). Patricia is a 2015 Genesis semi-finalist and First Impressions finalist. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two children.
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