We are back from the annual Ontario holiday. We went to the usual haunts and did the usual things.  We saw some friends and had a good time.  The missing piece to this otherwise perfect pie was the lack of downtime. We were always on the go – going to theatre, to dinner, or running around town to see the sights.  Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed all of this but I didn’t make room to just sit. Too bad, as there were some excellent spots to do just that. At our motel there were chairs looking out onto the lake.  It was rustic. Swans swam in it.  It was a perfect place for a sit and a book.

I am normally a squirrel that gets restless easily. There is no such thing as a quiet weekend, for I am always getting up from a chair to go do something. I have a meditation pad, but it never gets used.  I feel guilt every time I shake off the dust.

Americans are suspicious of sitting. ‘Doing nothing’ is still interpreted as Sloth, a deadly sin. (Doing nothing used to anger The Puritan God; now it angers The Economy). Even leisurely vacations are frowned upon. If you reply to the question “What did you do on your vacation?”  with “Oh, nothing” you are perceived as an object of suspicion.

There are so many good reasons to sit still.  It is time we all make an effort at slowing down and halting from time to time. Or else. What I mean is, the body and mind have marvelous ways to slow you down if you don’t do so voluntarily. And this is usually not done in a pretty way.

I too need to make downtime. And I need to practice sitting still. This Labor Day Weekend I have no plans. I will avoid making any. I will  fight the impulse to putz around the house or do ‘catch up’ – or any of the other many euphemisms for ‘keep working/don’t do nothing”.  Let my fellow Americans and Puritan ancestors screech and howl.

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