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The Art of Doing Nothing

Dec 28, 2015 03:07PM ● Published by Jennifer Neys

By Theresa Nidetz

Downtime, chilling, vegging-out… the Italians have an expression for it. They call it far niente (to do nothing), and it is as much a part of life as breathing, eating and sleeping. Why is that so important, you might ask?  Well, think of all the times when a bright idea, an answer to a nagging question, or a solution to a perplexing problem came to you while you were in the shower, taking a walk, or just “tuning out” and staring into space. That is far niente working its magic!

When I was growing up, my mother, who was one of those “super moms” before the term existed, made sure my siblings and I were kept busy with school, homework, and chores. Whenever we had nothing to do, she would come up with busy work or suggest we go somewhere or do something.  This was not unlike the way we present-day parents fill up our children’s schedules with all kinds of extra-curricular activities to keep them occupied.  When I became an adult, life made sure I was kept busy with a full-time job, marriage, and children. Unscheduled time was scarce.  But lately, I have come to appreciate life at a slower pace, and I am learning to allow myself time for the things I enjoy doing or to just do nothing at all.

Practicing the art of doing nothing may be difficult at first, especially if you are wired to keep your mind and body going twenty-four/seven. It takes courage and determination to make time for doing nothing.  And your friends and family may think there’s something wrong with you for wanting to take a time-out.  But once they see how much happier, calmer, and more creative and productive you’ve become from this practice, they’ll understand. If you are like me and cannot sit still long enough to meditate, there are many ways to do nothing, such as taking a walk in nature, listening to your favorite music without any distractions, enjoying a warm relaxing bath, or taking a nap. The possibilities are endless!  So, the next time you are presented with the gift of unscheduled time and feel tempted to pick up that cell phone, tablet, laptop, or some other device of “busy-ness,” close your eyes, take three deep cleansing breaths, and allow yourself to do nothing at all!

Theresa Nidetz is a business consultant and an energy-healing practitioner based in the East Bay. Email Theresa at with your comments or suggestions.


Health+Wellness, Today, Community January 2016 The art of doing nothing Your abundant life far niente
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