My late husband’s birthday is this month. Sitting here, reading my old journal reminds me of the wonderful times we shared in Costa Rica on the land he loved so much. My words provide warm reflections of the many happy years we had together. I married the former United Nations Assistant Secretary General, Robert Muller (www.robertmuller.org), who spent an illustrious 40 years at the UN working and writing for peace and a better world. He also cofounded the University for Peace in Costa Rica.
We lived near the University for a part of each year. It was in Costa Rica that I learned the joy of being peaceful and the art of doing nothing. Gazing at nature from our terrace we would laugh at our favorite saying, “Doing nothing with increasing enthusiasm.”
An entry from my journal reminded me of those wonderful times in Costa Rica.
“The art of doing nothing
Is not that hard to learn
In the morning, you wake up
Not knowing which way to turn.
The peace, the quiet allows you to be
With no desire to go here, there
Being with yourself
Nature and the sky so blue
under God’s warm sun
While being in love is incredibly fun.”
Little did I know this practice would come in handy during Robert’s last years. As his caregiver, I was his anchor, his familiar partner, his wife. Many Sunday afternoons were spent sitting next to each other. Just sitting! Being a caregiver is a 24/7 job as many of you may have discovered. Often I was just too tired to do much else. “The solace for a tired mind is a quiet place to sit” writes Gene R. Kelley in his book Vitamins for the Mind. An afternoon of doing nothing rejuvenated me and reassured Robert that I was there, in my chair next to him, looking at our Santa Barbara garden he loved so much.
When Robert passed my granddaughter Bridget described her love for Grandpa Muller,
“I loved him with 10 hearts.” We all loved Robert, his 10 hole harmonica on which he played Beethoven’s Ode to Joy to her and her twin sister Sophie from the day they were conceived. Yes, my daughters two little angels were in their quiet space listening to his harmonica. We all start out in that secure, quiet place and I remind you that doing nothing is possible. You never know how powerful the quiet can be until you take the time just to be.
Our absolute priorities and objectives for the 21st century and the third millennium should be: