Friday, January 24, 2014

The Art of Doing Less

Ruby at Guilderton, January 2014
                                        
As I write this blog I am seated on the back of a 50' luxury boat in Thompson's Bay, Rottnest Island.  The sky is a vibrant blue,  water is lapping against the boat, there is a light easterly sea breeze and I am sipping on a delightful French wine.  I am totally "in the zone" of the environment. My hosts and my friend have gone off to dive for crayfish (Western Rock Lobster) and the wonderful local fish, the Dhufish, and will be gone for some hours.

Western Australian rock lobsters (crayfish) Thompsons's Bay, January  2014


 As it is my first time on board, I am very much a guest...my only decision is how warm will I get before taking a swim in the crystal clear Indian Ocean!

I have also recently had a wonderful two weeks at my beachhouse north of Perth...it was after the arrival of the new year and before the start of my business commencement season in February.  But even though I knew that I was there for relaxation, it actually took me a week or so to take on the do as little as possible, and never wear a watch holiday frame of mind. My end of year had been hectic with numerous working commitments, a 40th school reunion on the other side of the country and the preparations for Christmas and my annual New Year's Day party.

Pink and grey galahs feeding from the clam shell, Guilderton, January 2014

However it occurred to me after the first week, when I had a day or so alone after my guests had left, that I was so tied to this wonderful gadget, the iPad, that rather than assisting with relaxation via my enjoyable French chats on Skype, the books I have uploaded, and of course my preferred social media connections, it was detracting from the doing less aspect of relaxing and to listening to the waves, the noises of the birds fighing over the seed I put out for them, the frogs, the lawnmowers, the dogs barking at nothing...and it was also inhibiting my Guilderton Glaze...the look on my face, apparently, when I just enjoy the view of the Moore River entering the Indian Ocean.

The Moore River meets the Indian Ocean, November 2013


So in the couple of days before my next guests arrived I did...nothing...electronic anyway.  I did watch the evening news, but I gained most of my news from the paper which I bought every morning, walking  my dog Ruby to either the the "top" or "bottom"  shop.  We walked along the beach together, me speaking to her in French and she not correcting my mistakes!  I caught up with " beachhouse friends" without an iPad in sight, I started reading the magnificent novel The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (which has just been made into a move I believe) and I...relaxed.

Despite a unfortunate accident when I was smashed in the back by a rogue wave and "dumped" and tossed around as if I was in a washing machine by the ocean, my newly arrived guests all commented on how invigorated  I looked...despite my out of form back.

It was a salient lesson in this day and age of the immediacy of our communication and information gratification needs. The enjoyable solitude of sitting with a marvellous book and emersing oneself, free of time constraints, into its orbit for days at a time, to savour the language, the texture of the pages and the comfort of its companionship truly reminded me that there is an art to doing less...

As so why, you may well ask, when seated on the back of this beautiful boat, am I writing for the first time in many weeks, a blog?  My personal solitude is all encompassing, my communion with the water around me and the light sea breeze is palpable...and 3G means I can have it all!

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