HOW TO ENJOY IDLENESS, THE POWER OF LISTS, AND A BIT OF HORN TOOTING


Well, as long as there is life, there is doing. So when I have to do things I console myself with:”I am still alive!” There has been a wonderful development in my life in which I allow myself rest and enjoy it more than I can say. This was the first time upon arrival at our mountain home from the city — an eight hour trip that became a 10 hour journey due to traffic and road expanding) that I didn’t hit the ground running. I lay down in bed with a hot water bottle (I love those things!) and just hung out with Payson instead of unpacking and doing, doing, doing. I did the same the next day. Fool that I am, I have finally realized after thirteen years that I need a couple of days to acclimatize to the altitude and rest up from the journey. The journey was easy this time, too, because I was reading a book by my favorite author — myself! The Indian edition of THE SINGING GURU arrived while I was in the city, and since I hadn’t read it for over a year (one gets sick of a book after the grueling editorial process), I read it and loved it! It still held my interest and I couldn’t wait to get to the end of it! I think it was Oscar Wilde who said he never travels without his journals. It gives him something good to read!

I don’t apologize for this in the least. I would have no business being a writer if I didn’t enjoy my own writing! How would I expect others to?

After this little digression, let me get to the point: I was saying that as long as there is life, there is doing, without doing which one gets into the procrastinator’s hell: beating oneself on the head, but worse, not enjoying idleness. One can only truly enjoy it if one takes periodic breaks from it in order to do the doing every alive human needs to do. For example, I have days when I don’t want to do a damn thing! In addition to learning to let myself be on those days, I have learnt how I can keep regret at bay. My brain doesn’t want to work on such days, no, not at all, and that is part of the pleasure. But I have a list this morning of things I can do without a brain. I swear by lists and think that the power of making them, reading them, and doing the needful is enormous. My list today involves practical things: I am getting my huge drawers divided to better organize them;  Tek Ram, our resident mistri, or worker who works with stone and brick, construction and carpentry, is doing it; I am editing chapters, doing research, cutting and pasting, and generally sitting in bed and writing here, for instance, which requires an easier part of the brain. Making a list gives me things to do when I am lost in idleness. The enemy, or rather, supreme friend of idleness is consciousness of time. No matter what accomplished Idlers we can become, we do hear ‘Time’s winged chariot hurrying near.’ Being mortal, we cannot ignore it. I have so very many projects that I want to complete before I die (and I hope I don’t die too soon, though one never, ever knows, and this not knowing is important to know) that I have to find ways of doing in a way that is not doing, and definitely not too demanding on either my lovely body or my sweet and darling brain.

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