Dolce far niente. It’s become my theme these days in both my life and work.

Last fall I had the blessing of basking on the Ligurian coastline in Italy…for work! I attended an intimate working retreat, where I learned to blend new ways of doing what I do in the world and for my clients through the process of deep transformation.

There was incredible natural beauty, bucket list experiences, foods and sights to delight all the senses, and an indescribable magic flowing through it all as gently and easily as the warm Mediterranean breeze through the gauzy curtains that led to my balcony.

In case you’re not familiar with this Italian phrase, dolce far niente translates as “the sweetness of doing nothing”. I have learned that this is not to be confused with “being lazy” (although that can certainly be part of it!).

Often the idea of “doing nothing” can have a decidedly negative connotation. Our culture has groomed us well to perpetually do, do, DO!, stay busy! and get things done! Stay late, work longer, harder, hustle, hustle! Idleness in any form is generally seen as a negative, and I’m sure we’ve all heard some version of, “Don’t just sit there, do something!” more than once.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when action is needed, hard work is tremendously rewarding and pays off well. When fueled by the right things and when we care for ourselves in the process, it is a wonderful thing. However, when it becomes the dominant way of approaching life to the exclusion of all else, it can become very damaging to our well-being on many levels.

The reality is that taking ample time to simply be in stillness, to go within and listen, and just BE have equal, if not greater benefits. When we are in stillness and take time to go within, wisdom, insight, and the knowing that we are part of something greater have a much easier time finding us.

What good is all the do-ing if it is not fueled by our own inner wisdom and knowing? If we are so busy achieving all the time, yet don’t stop long enough to truly be present to the real moments of our life, what’s the point?

It’s in bringing both stillness and activity into an ebb and flow that truly works for each individual, that can bring the best of life to us in a way that opens us to greater possibility and happiness.

With my newfound awareness and joy seeded while reveling in the pleasures of Italy, once home, it took some time for me to recalibrate my existing life to match that delicious taste of expansion.

I spent some time really looking at the facets of my life and my business. More importantly, I took time to really tune in to how things felt. What felt the heaviest or most sticky for me? What people, tasks or situations did I feel most drained or negative after? When did my creative flow come to a screeching halt? I asked more and more what my body and intuition had to say about…everything.

All these things made me get more present to my Self, as a whole and complete person – not just what my mind or my outdated beliefs thought I “should” be doing or being.

With that increased awareness, I have been able to make shifts in my life and business that feel SO much more aligned. Here are some of the things that have shifted for me…

I have started or increased:

  • Delegating and outsourcing
  • Trusting my intuition
  • Inviting in Spirit/the Universe for co-creation and inspiration, decisions
  • Trusting and listening to my body
  • Including stillness and meditation in my morning practice
  • Asking for and accepting help and support
  • Being more cognizant of where I choose to spend my energy
  • Saying “I truly love you” (and other nice things) to myself daily, and mean it

I’ve stopped or lessened:

  • Insisting I should do “all the things” myself
  • Pushing past the point when I feel I need rest
  • Overriding my intuition with my logical mind
  • Spending time around people or things that sap my energy
  • Undervaluing myself and what I provide my clients
  • Avoiding when I feel fear around expanding

What has changed as a result of these shifts? I am working in a way that feels much smoother and joyful than ever before AND my work is more potent and effective. I am healthier, better rested and less stressed out. I love and appreciate myself more, and with that, I’m able to offer more of that to others in my life. In a nutshell, I am much, much happier! 🙂

This is an ongoing and evolving process of awareness for me and one that will definitely continue for a long time to come. What shifts could you make in your life or business that would bring in more dolce far niente?