the art of doing nothing (in Colombia)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"What if you pulled away from this constant stimulation? Stepped out of this forward-gushing wave of modern life and did something else? What if you found your own rhythm, one that's insightful and nurturing like the lapping of waves on a sandy shore  sometimes rough, sometimes quiet, sometimes still like glass?"
- from The Way of the Happy Woman by Sara Avant Stover

While we were in Colombia, we spent a week in a small town called Villa de Leyva. Several of my family members, including my mom, have holiday homes there.  My mom's house belonged to my grandparents, and as they hadn't been in a long time it was needing some TLC. My husband and my mom spent the whole week gardening, cleaning, decorating, organising repairs and then gardening some more. Me, I took care of Clementine.

The pace was slow and the days were long. With no wifi, I found myself bored for the first time in, well, a very long time. It was so good for me. I couldn't edit photos, write blog posts, watch tv, check comments, scroll through instagram or look at Facebook (boy am I disliking facebook more and more these days!). Instead, I took photos, gave Clementine my undivided attention, ate well, watched the fire, contemplated, admired my aunt's beautiful quilts, did nothing, napped, and read books. Two whole books: Death Comes to Pemberly and Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, both of which I loved.

It was grounding and made me hyper aware of my surroundings in a way I haven't been in a long time. I was present, because there was nowhere else to be. It's a practice I think I should embrace more often, perhaps for shorter stretches here and there and for one long stretch a year.

How do you unplug?

p.s. do you bring your iphone to dinner? and do you check your phone first thing in the morning?


  1. Lovely photos - Clementine's hair is especially sweet in these :)

  2. Unplugging is so so important. Stephen and I realised that the first thing we did when we got to the dinner table was pull out our phones and sometimes we would even sit there for a time texting someone else, or instagramming our food or checking us in on Facebook. We didn't realise we were completely ignoring the other.

    We've banned phones at meals now and you know what, our conversation is so much richer and we actually enjoy ourselves so much more now. I just wish it didn't take us so long to realise!

  3. Oh how beautiful. It is trips like those that remind us gently to live in the present.

  4. So gorgeous. Ah as you would know I am addicted to my phone! I am trying hard not to. Would be so good to escape to somewhere with no connection to any wifi or any internet whatsoever.

    P.S. TWO BOOKS?! So jealous. And that quilt. Extra jealous.

  5. looking at the title of this post, i think it's the only art i can master. hha!
    gorgeous pictures. i feel more connected to my surrounding when i unplug. i'm not the type that's attached to my phone. when i'm not working, leaving my phone home or unplug never been an issue to me. it's bothering me when i go out with friends and they all busy with their phones instead of making conversation to each other. i'm not a social media active user either. i don't tweet and i barely ever open my facebook. haha

  6. stunning photos! remind me a little bit of Mexico, you know all latin countries and cities are alike. Love it!

  7. Wow, these photos are absolutely gorgeous. What a beautiful place. And I try very, very hard not to be, 'plugged in' all the time. My boyfriend is really good about putting his phone away, but I'm always distracted by the app updates and instagram. I think it's time to take a step back and just enjoy us, too :)

  8. Your little Clementine is SO ITTY BITTY! I love her to pieces!

  9. That photo (the same one you put on your Instagram in regards to this post) is just breathtaking! The mood of this photo, with the clouds in the background and the warm orange-y glow of the windows highlighting the bells, is quite powerful. P.S. guilty of checking my phone first thing in the morning.

  10. What amazing photos! Colombia was never on my bucket list, but it is now! All I can say is wow! The place looks amazing.
    It's so important to be present in the now. I think sometimes we hear this advice, but until we have actually practiced it, it's hard to understand what this means. Well done and I really do hope you get the opportunity to be 'present' again.

    Krista // Blanks & Bliss

  11. Yep I could do nothing in Columbia. and that baby with those big bright eyes- simple adorable.

    I unplug with a cozy book and a delicious latte. :)

  12. Sounds like a perfect way to unplug and spend quality time with your family and little Clementine. I've been on social media and the internet way too much, I think. But it keeps me entertained while nursing Alex.


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