GNH Lumber

Body, Mind & Spirit Connections: Sacred idleness 


By Pat Larsen

For Capital Region Independent Media

Headshot of a female named Pat Larsen
Pat Larsen

I believe we, who are among the “busy bees” on a daily basis, do long for those quieter days, in truth. I know I do.

Then… those moments arrive and we might suddenly feel like it’s an unwanted inconvenience and interruption that has descended upon us. 

I love the idea of  reframing this concept in a different way in advance and calling it a “sacred idleness” that we welcome and embrace.

After a particularly active week, I found myself a bit lost on one Sunday recently. After tidying up from a weeklong house guest, I found the quiet disconcerting.

I realized that there, within the stillness, were the remnants of everyday life waiting for my attention and in some cases, reconciliation. I began to realize that “being busy” was my way of avoiding those less than desirable tasks that I didn’t want to engage in. 

It sounded so poetic and profound to consider having nothing pressing to do as a way of life. But for some reason that also terrified me. THEN, I got it…in a light bulb moment, like a flash from a bolt of lightning, it hit me — balance. That’s the thing that I was missing on a day-to-day basis.

Years ago, in a land far, far away, oops, sorry I got caught up in that old phrase… we did possess the skills that allowed for more balance in our everyday lives. The complexities of life now — so much more fast paced than ever before — make it seem impossible and overwhelming to just do nothing rather than to plan on doing an exhaustive, detailed list of stuff. 

How then does one reverse the clock and work from that place of a stabilized, easier, freer starting point? 

Beats me. So, I began researching the time gone by and how folks navigated a less chaotic existence. I have found clues from some of the elders in my family and community as they recalled Sundays as a day of rest with no activities other than chilling out after Mass. Shops were closed. Malls didn’t exist. Kids played stickball or jumping jacks. 

They often played a game of solitaire after their evening meal or read from their Bible. Crocheting, something I never mastered — no surprise based on my constant modus operandus, what we now call MO, to keep going ‘til dusk and then drop off into sleep. 

So, let’s be clear, I’m not suggesting I or we or anyone go back in time to all of the above. However, I am reflecting on what worked before and the permission given by those back in the day to just BE… and not get so wrapped up in prep for the next day or the week to come.

Balancing life is a much better plan than winging every day and waking up frustrated, tired, overwhelmed and dissatisfied. 

Pat Larsen is a fitness instructor in Greene and surrounding counties with classes for Baby Boomers and seniors on Monday and Thursday mornings at The Shamrock House in East Durham. Just follow the sound of oldies but goodies and you’ll find a lovely group of fun-loving people. As a certified hypnotherapist, Pat also serves as a witness to those seeking to be heard and offering support to the stories that make up the lives of those clients she works with through relaxation techniques. Contact Pat at 518-275-8686 or at

Related Posts