What Inspired Me This Week: The Eames Solar Do-Nothing Machine

I am totally enamored with the Solar Do-Nothing Machine, a colorful kinetic solar toy designed by the Eames Office for ALCOA (Aluminum Company of America) in the 1950s. It’s only purpose, was to do nothing. Oscar Shefler of ALCOA states, “There is little pertinence in asking what the toy is supposed to do. It is not supposed to do. It is supposed to be. Its whole function is in its being.”

We are all slaves to our daily to-do lists. Or at least I am. Every morning after Lulu’s been cared for, I begin to think about all the things I have to do for the day. From the exciting to the mundane, each day is filled with tasks that will take me from morning to evening, in a blink of an eye. Even when I’m on holiday, somewhere amazing like Paris, I bring my to-dos with me. Instead of “buy groceries” or “make work deadlines” I exchange the tasks for “pack for an afternoon at Rue Mouffetard” and “research museum exhibitions” (albeit more fun, they are still things to think about).

Now that summer’s here in full swing, it got me thinking, when was the last time you allowed yourself to do absolutely nothing?! To stay in one place and not think about a single non-survivor task… to be able to rest the mind and body? And to allow yourself to just be. I know it’s nearly impossible with a kid because you have responsibilities, but aside from ensuring their safety and feeding them, is it possible to hang out and do nothing at all, together for a day?

I think we could all learn a thing or two from this magnificent sculpture. Before summer’s over, I hope to have one day, to do nothing at all — and feel awesome about it. Won’t you join me to?