5 Things I Learned from 5 Weeks of Doing Nothing

I recently took 5 weeks of vacation from work without the slightest plans of what I’d do or where I’d go. Everyone thought I was crazy for using up all my vacation time at one go but I knew deep down that this is what I needed.

I craved those months we got off from school to relax. And relax we did after a gruelling year of tests, exams, labs, assignments, and projects. That huge chunk of time allowed me to really rest and rejuvenate for the next intense year of engineering. It’s like they say about yoga: Shavasana (corpse pose), a deeply relaxed state of the body, is only achieved once the body has been physically stressed. This is what school vacation felt like.

But the working life is totally different. We crave for those two weeks of pause yet spend hours and days planning a vacation out of the city or country to relax. But have we really relaxed? Or have we put further stress on our minds and bodies?

Well here’s what I learned during my 5 weeks of true pause:

  1. Dolce far Niente: it is Italian for “The sweetness of doing nothing” famously quoted in the movie Eat Pray Love. When I first watched the film this line stayed with me because I knew that it was life’s profound wisdom and that I should make a note of it. Though I was aware of this little wisdom I had not put it into practice. Or even if I did, I did not make a conscious effort to enjoy it. Until now. I spent my days doing nothing extraordinary. I would meditate, do yoga, make some food, enjoy the weather and that’s pretty much it. But doing so little meant so much because I was aware of the joy my heart felt to be present in the moment and just do nothing.
  2. Meditation is powerful. I seriously started the practice of meditation at the beginning of my vacation and I’ve come to realize its power. I won’t try to explain what I mean because the experience is different for everybody and hardly any words can describe it. All I can say is that the more I do it, the more I want to do it.
  3. When you’ve got yourself, you don’t need anything else. Meditation taught me to be with myself, with my heart. Soon a realization came over me that I did not need to chase anything. I did not need to go explore every corner of the world as if searching for something missing in my life. I had me; a truly liberating feeling.
  4. Desire. Attachment. Sentiment. It causes pain. If you can remove emotion from all that you do then nothing can affect your happiness. It is when we get emotionally affected and things don’t go our way then we become sad, upset, paralyzed. But if we didn’t do that, even with positive emotions, then we would be free. Free to focus on the doing than the thing which comes after the done.
  5. Staycation > Vacation. My mind and body feel rested. I feel grounded. Rejuvenated. Restored. I am ready to take on the world, come what may. I have spent the past 5 weeks trying to ground myself, trying to solidify the learnings above. Of course it will be harder in the real world outside the four walls of my room. But hopefully my roots have dug down deep that it would be hard for the wind to pluck me off it.

This post is written for WordPress’ Writing 101 topic: Write a list.

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8 thoughts on “5 Things I Learned from 5 Weeks of Doing Nothing

  1. You know where I first heard that particular Italian phrase? An episode of the old Dick Van Dyke Show from the 60s. I used to watch the reruns with my dad. So your number one made me smile right off the bat. :).

    Anyway, a very lovely list. Your staycation sounds fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

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