Inspiring Enchantment & Illumination with Tarot & Intuitive Guidance

Cultivating Laziness

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
— Lao Tzu

As the powerful perigee Moon of January wanes, we are invited to simplify and attune to the Winter’s quiet around us.

Of course, if you are in the tumult of surviving being downsized, economic challenges, and all the other ubiquitous mayhem of twenty-first century life, you might well respond, “Oh, yeah? Quiet? What planet are you living on?”

Well, like you, I am trying to live on planet Earth. And for those of us north of the Equator, quiet is, in fact, what She is doing. The long nights and barren cold days are the time when all around us, life is reduced to its simplest components. It is the time when fields and forests rest, many animals and plants are dormant, and low ebb is simply a fact. It is no accident, and it is a healthy response, I believe, for survival.

But we have become creatures of electric lights, artificial speed and intense, constant sensory stimulation. We do not know how to stop and, more than any other season, we have lost our harmonious relationship with Winter. No, I am not recommending that we return to the days of huddling around a fire in the bleak dark, struggling by on salted game and dried roots.

But it seems we need to find a better balance. I know I do.

The other day, a friend of mine pointed out an article that resonated deeply for me. (As is so often the case, I usually am the one most needing to take my own advice!) I was feeling a little burned out and overwhelmed, with too much to do, and not enough time.

The article is called, The Lazy Manifesto: Do Less. Then, Do Even Less. Leo Babauta, author of the bestselling, The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essentials, and host of the blog Zen Habits writes, “Lazy is often seen as a bad thing, but I disagree. Lazy is an amazing thing.” He then lists three main points why this is:

Lazy means that your body and mind are tired and want to rest. That’s a sign that you should actually rest. When you ignore these signs, that leads to burnout. So rest, and feel good about it!

“Lazy means you don’t want to work too hard, which often leads to figuring out how to do less work. Just about all of the advances in technology come from laziness: we drive cars instead of walking because we’re too lazy to walk, we use washing machines because we’re too lazy to do it by hand, we use computers because writing things out by hand is hard. Of course, reliance on machines isn’t a good thing, but using laziness to figure out better ways to do things is a good thing.

“Lazy people don’t start wars. Who wants to go through all the trouble to fight a war? Peace and friendliness is much easier.”

Okay, maybe that last one is a little tongue-in-cheek. But today, why not take a mid-week Lazy Break? Instead of using your lunch hour to work out, cruise the web, make a few quick calls or catch up on some paperwork, just for today, why don’t you just.. you know.. eat lunch? And nothing else.

Rather than using every second of today’s productive time to be productive, consider actually doing nothing for a little while. Daydreaming, doodling, feeling the sun on your face. Just stop for a little while. Allow yourself a little lazy down-time. See how it feels. Notice how easy or difficult it is.

And I’ll share more about cultivating the fine (sometimes difficult) art of doing less tomorrow!

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  • January 14, 2009, 4:45 pm Shell

    I agree. When I’m in easy mode, I get so many wonderful insights and feel more in flow.

  • January 14, 2009, 6:34 pm conniewonnie13

    There was a wonderful article in the Utne Reader some years ago that talked about the power of relaxation, laziness and napping. I don’t recall the finer points of the article (I’m sure it was along the lines of your post today) but I think that the last line is one of journalisms best:

    Subvert capitalism, take a nap.

    Who says you need to be busy 24/7 to be living a good life?

  • January 15, 2009, 9:17 pm Kim Antieau

    “Subvert capitalism, take a nap.” I LOVE it! I need to learn to be lazy. The ways that I work too much are too legion to discuss here, but I do need to learn to relax. The word “lazy” comes from a German word that means “languid.” I love the sound of that word. I will practice becoming languid. Or lazy.

  • January 16, 2009, 7:34 am Beth Owl's Daughter

    Kim! I am thrilled to see you visiting here. Be welcome (and languid!) here anytime! 🙂
    – Beth

  • January 16, 2009, 9:35 am Teacats

    I simply love the moment when the tea is ready in the cup, a fresh book is at hand, a fire is crackling in the grate, a cat is curled up and snoring on a nearby chair and there is a faint scent of a candle or incense in the air! Lazy — been called that all my life! So I loved your posting! Thanks!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  • January 26, 2009, 2:39 am Selene Vega

    I realized many years ago that what happens to me in winter is not depression, it’s hibernation. It’s a reasonable response to seasonal changes. As long as I don’t have pressure to be outgoing and busy, busy, busy in the world, I’m not depressed. I start to feel depressed only when I have the pressure of obligations that really don’t fit for me in January (as much as I could do them with ease and energy in July). It has made life in winter much more comfortable to realize this and plan accordingly.