There’s an art to balancing doing and being. And we often have to remind ourselves that it’s okay–essential even–to pause periodically from all the doing and spend a little time just being. And it’s more than okay to simply enjoy the fresh air.
While hiking through a little town called Agliano in Italy back in 2012, I noticed a large number of locals simply sitting outside enjoying the fresh air. And it struck me at how peaceful they appeared–even more so than me. And I was the one on vacation.
As I climbed the steep road into the heart of the city, I met an older gentleman along the way who was sitting in the shade outside of a small church enjoying the fresh air. He was alone I was surprised that he greeted me in English.
“Vino?” I asked, hoping he could point me in the direction of some good wine. Italian wines are some of my favorites. He chuckled before answering, “It’s too hot for that.” Perhaps. It may have been barely high-noon and nearly 90 degrees, but that wasn’t the point.
It was clear that he was eager to practice his English, as he proceeded to share with me that his life dream was to visit the United State before he died. Not exactly what I was expecting to hear, since so many people had warned me before my trip that Europeans don’t like Americans. I never once found that to be true during my entire trip.
At the top of the hill, I noticed a couple of churches, a park, a school, a few restaurants, a grocery store, and some apartments. But not much else. There were no parking lots, shopping malls, stoplights, lighted signs, car horns, or people fiddling with electronic devices. Instead, there was only a sense of calm and order–quite the opposite of the overfunctioning I’d grown used to back at home.
Everyone seemed to know their role and they appeared to have everything they needed. And they certainly had time for fresh air.
If taking time to enjoy the fresh air seems like an insignificant use of your time, then you probably need it more than you think.
Need to find more time to enjoy the fresh air? Start here.