Over this past easter weekend we realized something so important and something that we overlook time and time again. It’s something the Italians do well and something that the rest of us struggle with (especially in this day and age):
Dolce far niente.
Literally translated as the “sweetness of doing nothing”. That phrase doesn’t just sounds romantic, it is something to aspire to. And it’s not just applicable in Italy where you can lie underneath the olive trees while sipping on red wine and gazing out at the beauty that is the Tuscan countryside (although that does sound pretty idyllic does it not?). No, it’s something that we must all practice every day.
It’s the simplicity of sitting at home in a quiet spot, or surrounded with family in the least quiet spot (as is life!), and not picking up your phone to scroll through Instagram. But rather to just take in all that is happening around you. Just to look. To see. To listen. To be aware. To be grateful.
I realized this while sitting on the ‘stoep’ of my in laws’ house in the Karoo, looking out over the vast stillness that surrounds you in that area of the country, and just looking. Granted I forced myself to put my phone away and not look at Instagram which is, admittedly, one of the hardest things for me to do these days (to put it in perspective I can probably give up chocolate with much less resistance than I could give up Instagram. It’s bad. I know). But how many of us feel this way? And it’s much easier said than done, let me tell you. But it’s so worth it when you do.
Transforming the phrase dolce far niente into your mantra (literally) really can make a positive difference in the way you view the world. A big claim to make, sure. But just try it. Repeat it in your head. Try and practice dolce far niente when you can, and take in the beauty that is your life. Because I’m pretty sure you have a lot to be grateful for, even if it is just for one thing every day.