The art of doing nothing is helped by a culture where food and relaxation are seen as cultural goals. In the summer of 2011, Ms. H and I travelled to Paris from London. We arrived on a Sunday, when not much other than a few restaurants were open. The French believe Sunday is still about rest. After getting settled in the 10th arrondissment, we headed in the general direction of Notre Dame.
We flaneured – and the beauty of Paris is the flaneurs always lead somewhere magnificent – to the Tuileries, with nothing to do, nowhere to be and a whole lot of time in front of us. I recall some anxiety about being in this state. While London is certainly less hectic than most American cities, compared to Paris, it seems to skyrocket.
The art of doing nothing means just doing nothing. So we gathered up a few green chairs populating the gardens and sat down. And did nothing for quite some time. This state is easy to achieve in Paris. Even when there is a work day afoot, people walk s-l-o-w-l-y and eat s-l-o-w-l-y and talk with each other and eat more food and drink wine. (And don’t even discuss having cell phones while eating!) I can’t recall every seeing anyone in the States move or act in such an idle manner. When I did, I passed them post haste and found them conversing in French!
As spring approaches, and Moxie and I hear the birds chirping and the sun warms the interior of the house, I remember the art of doing nothing. All we need is an open heart and a willingness to let go and settled down into the moment and listen to one’s beating heart.
Bon courage with doing nothing this spring!