How beautiful it is
to do nothing, and then
to rest afterward.
~ Spanish Proverb
Maybe because it's summer, I am drawn to revisit this theme of resting and doing nothing. Or maybe the motif keeps coming to mind because our culture is on high-speed auto-pilot and it feels like balance is essential to our physical and emotional well-being.
The image of doing nothing and resting afterwards may elicit a smile or laughter as it's so contrary to the way most of us live our lives. And it's no surprise that it's a Spanish proverb as Siestas originated there! The tradition isn't as strong in Spain as it used to be, but still exists as life generally has a slower pace.
Maybe we don't have time every day to do nothing and rest afterward, but the image is a good counter-point to the general frenetic pace of life. For parents, it may be even more difficult to imagine finding time to do nothing and/or rest. However, children are great examples of this principle. They are masters of living in the moment, of playing, of being dazzled by the slightest detail, the smallest newly noticed thing. And then they fall into deep sleep easily ( usually)!
Many large companies now have meditation rooms or scheduled meditation times, yoga classes, quiet rooms. Even in the midst of your busy work place, can you find time and space to do nothing? Can you gift yourself with moments of doing nothing ( and not feeling guilty about it) and rest? Could you imagine embodying this Spanish proverb and seeing what it's like?
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley