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Do­ing noth­ing is an art,

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and in my opin­ion it’s a skill we all should hone. I’m not ad­vo­cat­ing lazi­ness – on the con­trary.

Think about it: how many times have you stood up from your desk, or walked to the kitchen, or opened the fridge and found your­self un­able to re­mem­ber what you wanted to do? In­for­ma­tion over­load is to blame – it’s the bane of our ex­is­tence!

As you set out to do what­ever it was at that mo­ment, there was prob­a­bly a del­uge of other thoughts flash­ing through your brain: things you need to re­mem­ber, de­ci­sions you’re ag­o­nis­ing over... All the ‘noise’ that causes your thoughts to get lost in the high­way of your mind.

And it’s lit­tle won­der. Thanks to tech­nol­ogy, there is now more in­for­ma­tion out there for us to ab­sorb than ever be­fore. Ad­mit it, gone are the days of ly­ing on the sofa at home, just watch­ing TV. Nowa­days, you’re mul­ti­task­ing, cell­phone in hand: keep­ing an eye on so­cial me­dia, maybe read­ing a news ar­ti­cle on your favourite app, or check­ing a text mes­sage that’s just come through.

And so your mind ric­o­chets be­tween dif­fer­ent chunks of in­for­ma­tion. Very soon it all be­comes, well... just one loud and dis­tract­ing noise.

Which is prob­a­bly why ‘mind­ful­ness’ con­tin­ues to be a buzz­word; the idea that we should all live in the mo­ment and ex­pe­ri­ence it in its fullest, sat­is­fy­ing sim­plic­ity. Eat with­out watch­ing TV, chew food slowly and taste it be­fore you swal­low. Sit some­where out­doors with the sun on your back and re­ally feel its warmth...

You prob­a­bly know this joke: what is South Africa’s na­tional sport? Braai­ing. Well, if there were a na­tional ‘hang-out spot’, it would def­i­nitely be the stoep. And that’s what we’re cel­e­brat­ing in this is­sue. (See page 64.)

They come in all shapes and sizes. Braai rooms, pa­tios, bal­conies, ve­ran­das. Call them what you will, they all have one thing in com­mon: this is where we un­wind. And, of course, eat, en­ter­tain, en­joy our hob­bies and read – you name it! But above all, they pro­vide us with some­where to re­lax, some­where to just sit.

I’ve re­cently had the plea­sure of trav­el­ling and ‘switch­ing off’ did not come eas­ily. Stress is ac­tu­ally a form of ad­dic­tion; it takes a bit of ef­fort to shake it off. But once you get it right – oh, the bliss!

At this hec­tic time of year, with Christ­mas just around the cor­ner (can you be­lieve it?), my ad­vice is this: sit on your stoep, even if the paving needs to be re­paired, the ta­ble could do with some sand­ing and paint­ing, and your roses need trim­ming. Just go and sit there for a while. And do noth­ing.

You de­serve it.

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