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Author Topic: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing  (Read 13810 times)

Secret Six

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10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« on: September 21, 2009, 07:41:07 pm »

By Tom Hodgkinson
09/21/09
CNN



(REAL SIMPLE) -- One morning, nearly 20 years ago, I was lying in bed. It was late. I was supposed to be working, but I seemed glued to the mattress. I hated myself for my laziness. And then, by chance, I picked up a collection of writings by Dr. Samuel Johnson, the 18th-century wit and the compiler of the first comprehensive English dictionary. In the book were excerpts from a weekly column he had written called "The Idler," in which the great man celebrated idleness as an aspiration, writing in 1758, "Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler." This was an epiphany for me. Idleness, it seemed, was not bad. It was noble. It was excessive busyness that caused all the problems! So I got out of bed and started a magazine called 'The Idler," in order to remind people of the forgotten, simple pleasures of doing nothing. I even wrote books about it. And, yes, you could say that idleness became my life's work. So, based on all those years of tough-going research, here are my top tips for people who find it difficult to just be.

1. Banish the guilt. We are all told that we should be terribly busy, so we can't laze around without that nagging feeling that we need to be getting stuff done. I rejected my guilt upon learning that Europeans in the Middle Ages felt no shame for lolling about. Their favorite philosopher, Aristotle, had praised the contemplative life, and the monks spent a lot of time just praying and chanting. Guilt for doing nothing is artificially imposed on us by a Calvinistic and Puritanical culture that wants us to work hard. When you understand that it hasn't always been this way, it becomes easier to shake it off. Real Simple: How to worry less

2. Choose the right role models. Most of the great musicians and poets were idlers. So feed yourself a diet of John Lennon, Oscar Wilde, Walt Whitman, and the like. Carrying a slim volume of verse in your purse or pocket can be therapeutic -- something from Keats, who wrote of "evenings steep'd in honied indolence," or Wordsworth, of course. (What could be more idle than wandering lonely as a cloud?) It's delightful to read a few lines while you're on a bus or a train, then stare out the window and ponder their meaning.

3. Sketch a flower. If you are new to idling and feel compelled to be purposefully occupied, sketching a flower at the kitchen table can be an excellent way to bring some divine contemplation into your life. The act of drawing makes you observe the bloom in a way you never have before. All anxieties fly away as you lose yourself in close study. And at the end of it you have a pretty little sketch. Real Simple: 34 low-cost, make-you-smile ideas

4. Go bumbling. Bumbling is a nice word that means "wandering around without purpose." It was indulged in by the poets of 19th-century Paris. They called themselves flâneurs and were said to have taken tortoises around on leads, which gives you an idea of the tempo of their rambles. Children are good bumblers. Try making a deliberate effort to slow down your walking pace. You'll find yourself coming alive, and you'll enjoy simply soaking in the day.

5. Play the ukulele. The ukulele is the sound of not working. My wife hates it for that very reason: The twang of those strings means that I am not doing something useful around the house. I keep my ukulele in the kitchen and play it at odd moments, like while I'm waiting for the kettle to boil.

6. Bring back Sundays. Many religions still observe a Sabbath, whether it's Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. And for a long time secular society embraced Sundays as a day of rest, too. But now Sundays are as busy and stress-filled as any other day. Having a day of rest was a very practical idea: We were excused from all labor and devoted ourselves to pleasure and family. Take that ancient wisdom to heart and declare at least one day of the week as a do-nothing day. Don't clean the house or do the laundry; don't get in the car. Stay home and eat chocolate and drink wine. Be kind to yourself.

7. Lie in a field. Doing nothing is profoundly healing -- to yourself and to the planet. It is precisely our restless activity that has caused the environmental crisis. So do some good by taking a break from "doing" and go and lie on your back in a field. Listen to the birds and smell the grass.


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« Last Edit: September 21, 2009, 07:42:51 pm by Secret Six »
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Geoff

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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2009, 10:56:18 pm »

If Loafing was an Olympic sport I would be a medal contender. :wub:
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Winston

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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2009, 08:39:11 pm »

Sometimes I sit around and watch my 3 legged dog thrash around on the floor, kicking himself in the head with his hind legs and making funny noises. He has loads of fun all by himself; and manages to entertain everyone else while he's at it.
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rushye

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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2011, 11:35:32 am »

Nice list.
But personally, I'd rather do nothing and enjoy doing nothing :mellow:
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knobster

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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2011, 05:43:04 am »


6. Bring back Sundays. Many religions still observe a Sabbath, whether it's Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. And for a long time secular society embraced Sundays as a day of rest, too. But now Sundays are as busy and stress-filled as any other day. Having a day of rest was a very practical idea: We were excused from all labor and devoted ourselves to pleasure and family. Take that ancient wisdom to heart and declare at least one day of the week as a do-nothing day. Don't clean the house or do the laundry; don't get in the car. Stay home and eat chocolate and drink wine. Be kind to yourself.

Amen to that.  I really need to get back into such practice.  It seems for our family we scramble just as much on Sunday as we do on Saturday.  I do remember as a child that all stores were closed on Sunday, thus our busy schedule included a large breakfast, church, lazy afternoon reading the paper, playing games, etc.  Aaah, fun times.
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cowardly lion

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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2011, 02:37:29 pm »

Do you know why you get so tired doing nothing?



Wait for it . . .










You can't stop and rest.

 :rolleyes:
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MamaLiberty

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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2011, 03:31:30 pm »

The only time I am able to do "nothing" is when I'm sleeping... and that's even doing something... so I guess I've never experienced doing nothing. :)
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Lonewolf72

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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2011, 09:19:57 pm »

Something that I think more people could do is nothing. Just sit back and absorb the natural world. Very therapeutic.
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DPR 2006

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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2011, 03:28:22 am »

One of my favorite ways of doing nothing is to visit Barnes & Noble or Hastings, pick up some "research material" (ie, fantasy novels, RPG rulebooks, etc), and get a sugar-free coffee and relax.  Usually a mocha with sugar-free vanilla syrup (neither place offers sugar-free chocolate, dang it all!).
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Peregrin

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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2011, 09:54:46 am »

Something that I think more people could do is nothing. Just sit back and absorb the natural world. Very therapeutic.

 :thumbsup:  One of my favorite things to do in the fall is to sit in my backyard, enjoying the warm sun on my face and cool breeze in my hair.  :)
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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2012, 11:43:26 am »

Is it the doing of nothing that is relaxing, or is it simply DOING EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO DO instead of what you think others expect of you?  ;)

I can't sit around and do "nothing" but I find it most enjoyable when I'm doing what I want, and someone asks what I'm doing, and I can reply with "Oh, nothing..."
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MamaLiberty

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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2012, 12:55:29 pm »

Is it the doing of nothing that is relaxing, or is it simply DOING EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO DO instead of what you think others expect of you?  ;)

I can't sit around and do "nothing" but I find it most enjoyable when I'm doing what I want, and someone asks what I'm doing, and I can reply with "Oh, nothing..."

Amen! Same with one's work. If someone has a job they HATE, they need to do something about that - pronto - before it kills them.
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cz7

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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2012, 06:53:46 pm »

Do you know why you get so tired doing nothing?



Wait for it . . .










You can't stop and rest.

 :rolleyes:
pacing for it .......what ever it is ............yup still ..........................going still ...................ok next ..........
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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2015, 05:13:12 pm »

these days, hunting, fishing and hiking/backpacking are "doing nothing" ,and millions of us do (or really want to do) those things. :-)
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PMouserOSU

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Re: 10 ways to enjoy doing nothing
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2016, 03:46:16 am »

ye, i am a very lazy person to a fault.
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