Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to do Nothing

Okay, I am trying to get some work done. I know...I am on vacation. The boys are off running around with Uncle Bob. Princess is over visiting (read pestering) Aunt Shelby and Mom and Dad are discussing possible things they want to do later (cemeteries and such (read: Mom is puttering about the kitchen))

But it is driving me CRAZY knowing that the work is piling up while I am not doing it all week and that I am just gonna play catch up all next week so it is either stress out or make a little dent today...

So, really, it is less stressful to work for an hour and NOT panic over it rather than not work and continue to panic.

I keep thinking of the quote from Eat, Pray, Love.

“Generally speaking, though, Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused with everything from porn to theme parks to wars, but that's not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment. Americans work harder and longer and more stressful hours than anyone in the world today. But...we seem to like it. Alarming statistics back this observation up, showing that many Americans feel more happy and fulfilled in their offices than they do in their own homes. Of course, we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, eating cereal straight out of the box and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure). Americans don't really know how to do NOTHING. This is the cause of that great sad American stereotype-the overstressed executive who goes on vacation but who cannot relax."

I am feeling that this week. I have not really...not really...relaxed yet. I have worried if the kids are having fun. Is my mom relaxing? Is my dad okay? Am I spending too much? Am I spending too little? Is there something I should be doing? Should we go here? Should we just relax?

And I keep looking down the hill at the monastery.

Within view of my sisters house, there is a monastery. Full of nuns (supposedly, but they are ninjas or something because I haven't seen a single nun...and I have been diligently watching since I got here) who are doing whatever nuns do on the side of a mountain in Pennsylvania.

I keep wondering what DOES a nun in Pennsylvania DO all day long? Garden? I mean, they have TONS of land to do that on but I haven't SEEN a nun so...well, that sort of makes that unlikely. You have to be outside to garden. They aren't singing on the side of the mountain like Julie Andrews. (I did. I howled The Sound of Music at the top of my lungs but it isn't a nun calling song, apparently...and no...there weren't many around to see my show. The across the street neighbors did glance over at the loon visiting from out of state. Probably they think everyone from Ohio is nuts now. We won't tell her that I am FROM here...) Do they travel around doing good deeds? But they don't seem to LEAVE much. (I haven't SEEN one yet and have been watching all week.) And they taught my older sister Italian so do they spend their days in prayer and study?

Bet they know how to sit at peace and NOT work.

I think that is why I am fascinated with the nuns this trip.

There are these gorgeous peaceful mountains all around me. I took a vacation and am spending money to GET AWAY for awhile...because I know I have been stressed and I needed it.

But it didn't work. I brought all my stress with me. I haven't managed to silence the worry, the stress...or the thoughts of work. I haven't managed to slow down even one little bit. I just changed what I was worrying about and where I worried about it for a week.

And I think a lot of us do that on vacation. We don't really STOP worrying. We just change where we are doing it and the topic of the panic.

And then we scratch our heads when we come home and wonder why we are not refreshed and why we need a vacation from our vacation...


I kind of wish I could visit the nuns.

But something tells me that they would be confused as to why I was visiting...


For those of you who look at my pictures, today's is from the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and it is Nike of Samothrace...or Winged Victory of Samothrace. We went to the museum yesterday and this was originally part of a larger statue in a fountain. Kind of the first ever multimedia piece because you had the gurgling fountain and the flow of the water and the flow of her 190 BC. Pretty impressive, right?

Happy writing!

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