Leisure is a concept that you might think comes naturally to everybody. The truth is, leisure is a concept that many grasp inherently, while others work hard to learn. The best part is that it can be learned. For those of you reading, thinking of your long list of leisurely activities, wondering how someone could possibly not partake in the natural recession of every day, know that for the lot of us, it truly is a learned skill.
For the rest of you, reading this for some insight on how to get better at enjoying the tiny space-giving daily moments, I won’t make you wait much longer. What you need to know is that you too can find respite in even everyday practices and rituals that offer you clarity, calm, and ease.
What is Leisure?
By definition, leisure is the use of free time for enjoyment. Wow! Sometimes just getting to the root of a word can really revive how we apply it. What leisure is not, is the use of free time for work, for chores, for the dreadful getting-done of the things you don’t want to do. Instead, leisure is actually using the allotted time in a day to do something enjoyable for you.
Enjoyable leisurely activities vary from one person to the next, as they should.
Can you remember the last time you did something for the fun of it, for the enjoyment? Recall this time, even write about it. What, specifically, were you doing? Where were you, outside, indoors? Consider all the details that filled your senses. Was it warm where you were, just the right temperature of cool? How did this time make you feel, during and after? Consider why you felt the way you did, and on a scale of 1-10, how happy you were, how satisfied or content.
While happy is such an elaborate topic on its own, a choice, a way of life, do not get caught up in the specifics for this exercise. Just recall. Allow yourself to go back to that time. Reminisce. Even if just yesterday you experienced a moment of pure joy, remember that feeling. Planned or unplanned, hold tight to that memory.
Getting to the Root of Leisure
Leisure is a highly personal activity (or non-activity). It is a listening exercise. In many cases, it isn’t even something we think about, it’s just done; it’s just organized, planned, captured. For me, I have to capture it and store it. I have to learn leisure. I have to get to the root of what fulfills me, energizes me, excites me. The list comes easily:
- In-home gardening, arranging flowers/herbs
- Listening to music/podcasts/audio books
- Laundry, cleaning (yes, often with joy in my heart)
- Preparing & enjoying coffee/tea
What I mean by learning leisure is that I generally fill my plate with have-to’s and find that everything can seem like such a big undertaking, a chore, a responsibility, and not often enough viewed as a treasurable experience or necessary activity for my well-being. After compiling the above list of leisurely activities, I realize that many of them are imperative to my survival. Yes, you ready that correctly. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, and daydreaming fuel me; they positively drain me, yet I actually enjoy having to do them.
Cooking can become chore-like in nature, but dually natural in that we all need food to sustain us, satisfy us, nurture us, and energize us. I like to prepare real food with real ingredients, and to do that successfully requires that I do research on the foods that will benefit me the most, and learn which foods are harmful or can be damaging. This is research that I partake in for fun. Nobody is telling me to do it or forcing me to do it. Likely, I wouldn’t approach such a lifestyle if I didn’t believe it was mostly my idea anyway.
This is why it’s difficult to find joy in the many tasks of our everyday lives. Because we have to participate, to apply, to show up. And to transport we find that we’re graising a rough surface. When we can view something with a gentle gaze, an abstract attachment, we find that we’re shoulder-to-shoulder with a smooth surface. Ah, is that a result of a 400-grit sanding? Beautiful…
I’m not trying to convince you to love everything you do, or have to do, in life. Our personalities are what make us less tolerant to or more likely to have affinity for certain systems, processes, or responsibilities. Yet, on the outside of this idea, we’ve gotta take time to ourselves. In this routine, we are nourishing our minds, our bodies, and our spirits. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?
What are your leisurely activities & do you tend to push them aside or are you quite leisurely? Let me know in the comments below & thanks for joining me!