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Don't Tell my Grandma
Mindful Loafing: The Hidden Power of Inactivity

In this insightful episode, our co-hosts Juan and Wendy delve into the intriguing concept of Mindful Loafing – the seemingly counterintuitive practice of doing nothing. As they share personal stories, they draw connections between loafing, creativity, lucidity, and personal growth. They also explore how cultural, social, and familial expectations shape our behaviors and the transformative power of breaking free from them. Tune in to hear their quirky conversations and reflections on reviving their art habits and cultivating a balanced lifestyle.

Hi, hi.
Hey, how are you doing?
Is it working?
Is it working yet?
Is it working?
Have you there yet?
Is it working?
Yeah, it looks like it’s working.
It looks like it’s working, right?
It’s working today.
It’s working time.
It’s podcast time.
It’s podcast time.
You’re getting to be a really good singer, you know that?
I know.
Well, you know where my expertise lies.
Should we do a little preview or save that till the end of the show so we can give ouristeners a great surprise?
I’m always ready, cowgirl.
All right.
All right.
Veering off the track a little bit.
Oh, cowgirl.
I don’t want to veer out of the track.
Veer off the track.
Off the track.
That’s right.
Well, before I announce my new career in music, I need to master the English language, right?
Yes, absolutely.
Oh, man.
Hey, everybody.
Welcome back to the Don’t Tell My Grandma podcast, the best place to learn about science, culture,nd media that’s fact-checked by a dog.
I am your host Juan, and I’m joined by the biggest dog lover and the top country musicover in America.
That is the biggest lie.
Is it?
That is the biggest lie.
Yes to the first part.
Hail no, cowboy.
Oh, man.
No, I think I liked a couple of country songs in high school.
I think I was trying to convince myself that they were good, but that was the last of itfter that.
Never looked bad.
Were you influenced by your friends?
Oh, for sure.
That some of them were big country fans, and you were like, “If you don’t like country,ou can be friends with me.”
None of them were big country fans, but Leslie listened to a lot of country.
As a little middle schooler.
Wow, Les, we’re bringing you in the middle of the fray.
What’s going on?
Why country?
Talk to me.
Talk to me.
I mean, I think there were a couple of particular artists that she liked and songs that she…
Can I guess?
Can I guess?
Carrie Underwood.
You got it.
Of course.
You got it.
How’d you know?
Jesus take the wheel.
Oh my God.
Take it from my hand.
I forgot the rest of the letter.
No, you know of my heart.
Oh, I mean, I heard it so many times.
I just remember that.
Who did you hear it from?
The radio.
Oh, so you played it?
You’re a fan?
I was not in control of the radio.
Who was playing that and who was into it in your family or life?
I don’t remember.
I just remember hearing it a lot.
Well, someone must have liked that song.
Or they just tolerated it.
Someone just liked how it sounded.
Not that everybody knew exactly what it was saying.
Or maybe my mom was like, Oh, Jesus.
Here we go.
Love it.
Love it.
Hashtag love it.
Well, Leslie saying that in the car for all of us to hear, it was like carpool karaokend she was the only one singing and everybody else was like, Oh, I hate the song.
Oh man
Especially after you hear it for the 50th 50th time song by a screeching 10 year olds.
Don’t you hate it when love makes you do things that you hate?
So today’s special episode is brought to you by, I can’t remember the name Fritz and co.
No, that’s wrong.
The company.
Oh my God.
He forgot.
No, it’s pause.
That’s right.
And we have a very special topic that we want to cover.
It’s a very special topic for all dogs around the world.
And it’s just how important it is to actually just stay idle and do nothing.
And you know, this has to do with dogs because at least for me, dogs have helped me do thisn life.
Appreciate it.
Appreciate it.
Appreciating being present, not having to fill my agenda for two seconds, waking up in theorning and appreciating the morning, just sitting there or being outside and lookingut into the sunrise.
I really appreciate that dogs have really taught us to do things like that, even ift’s for five minutes of your day.
First of all, I want to appreciate how so much appreciation here.
I want to appreciate.
Let me just say, I appreciate.
I want to mention that I really like how you put it all together.
Like you didn’t just say like, oh, it’s just staying idle and doing nothing.
What a simpleton.
Why don’t you say things in a more appropriate way?
The art of loafing.
Oh, excuse me.
Did you just call me a simpleton?
No, I called myself a simpleton.
The art of loafing is my favorite term.
Thank you for bringing that to the podcast and bringing awareness around that wonderfulerm.
I just have the best idea.
I want to figure out how to learn about the topic and write a book, The Art of Loafing.
And the front is going to be a Corgi.
We’re in by Juan Reyes/Mueller inspired by chat GBT.
Oh my God.
I mean, pay credit where it’s due, right?
Well, I mean, I’m going to admit that when we are struggling a little bit with our creativitynd we want to kind of just season a little bit our thought process, try to speed thingsp and expand on our knowledge and necessarily just depend on that.
No, this is not ever going to be scripted.
It helps us kind of find interesting and engaging ideas in our thought process and the convolutionhat’s the next.
Oh my God.
No, that’s the next Balenciaga.
We can talk about Balenciaga.
Oh my gosh, there’s so many things that we need to talk to you about today, but let’stay on topic.
If you want to hear about these things and we forget, write to our email,
Write us that we need to talk about Balenciaga because boy, we have a lot to talk about.
Our manager here is trying to keep us on topic.
Yeah, he’s like, I hear you are not talking about loafing.
I am an expert loafer.
He is.
Well, he is an expert loafer.
Fritz is.
I want to become an expert loafer.
To be honest, I overwhelm myself with a lot of things.
I just feel like doing nothing feels uncomfortable.
And I think that’s just how we learn to function.
So how do you think what would be the first step to trying to become to becoming a loafer?
How do you become a loafer?
I should be able to talk about that.
We want to, of course, clarify.
We don’t want people to just become sloths, but we want everybody to understand the importancef like, you know, being aware, enjoying, just doing things.
Actually not doing things, giving yourself the space to think, to process, to rest, andind of like recover yourself from the hustle and bustle of life.
And to answer your question, I think we should all kind of like do some journaling abouthat.
But other things that we are spending a lot of time on, put it on paper, try to quantifyt and then look at it in a magnified way, like, okay.
Oh, wow.
I didn’t know I was spending three hours a day on my phone.
When you see it, it kind of helps you realize like, okay, this definitely needs to be reduced.
This is probably the place where I can find the time to do this one thing that I reallyanted to do, but I never found the time to.
So for me, I think journaling.
How about you?
For me, I feel like lying on the floor on my back is a really good way to reconnectith myself and kind of feel what’s going on in my body.
It’s a really good way for me to slow down.
I’m not good at meditation.
I mean, it’s really freaking hard for me.
And I’m not the kind of person who’s like, yeah, I’m just gonna like meditate it out forike 10 or 10 minutes, let alone 10 minutes.
I don’t know how people do it for half an hour.
So I just try to focus on feeling comfortable in the moment and just giving myself at least few minutes to breathe and not look at a screen.
In the past, when we were in Japan, I felt like I was able to do that when we went to
Onsen, the public baths, because that was such a perfect way in my mind to unwind andisconnect from the world.
Everyone is in, you know, it’s a shared experience, but you’re there by yourself, essentially,nless you go with a group.
But I usually went alone or we’d go together and then we’d go and hop in the baths andhey’re in the separate baths.
And it was just a great time for it to reflect and just kind of let your body melt into theot water.
And let the sensations take over all of the stressors of the day, the thoughts that haveeen kind of weighing you down.
So that bath time in the US is not as common.
So I do miss that, especially because of the healing powers of the Onsen.
But I’d say that those two things have been helpful tools for me.
Yeah, I do think that Asia in general, in Japan, is specific.
I figured out that there is an importance in your personal time.
There’s a value in being able to center yourself, like reconnect with that inner part of yourself,ontrol the stress and be able to increase your awareness.
And I think that’s something that we both learn to appreciate by living in Japan.
And that’s not to say that only people that are in Asia are able to appreciate those thingsr only people who do meditation and all.
There are people who have a good work-life balance, who have learned from early on thathey work their best when they have a routine and a set of habits that allows them to recovernd have maximum lucidity, as I call it.
You’re in full control of your brain.
You’re completely aware your memory is working 100%.
You feel alert.
Yeah, you feel alert.
You feel like you can communicate and vocalize, verbalize your ideas very well and organizell your thoughts very well.
Feeling like that is amazing.
And I feel like I had a lot of that, a bigger ratio of that when I was in Japan, that beingere and I think it’s just like also just the fact of like the culture kind of forcesou to constantly be at an edge.
Like there’s a level of stress that’s always there.
Or in Japan?
In the West, in the West in general.
But we can always do a lot to help ourselves be more aware, to be more in control of ourtress and be more lucid.
And one of the most helpful ways to do that is, of course, to give yourself the spacend just like sit on the couch, do nothing, allow yourself, allow your thoughts, justome to you and go and not think about work and all the stressful things that we haveo deal with in life at all times.
If you have a dog, just pet your dog.
If you like cooking, cook something for yourself.
If you like going for a walk, go for walks.
Walks are great.
If you like plants, go outside and plant some flowers and water.
It’s mindless and it’s therapeutic.
Here’s an interesting factoid that I wanted to share that I can actually illustrate onhat.
There is a lot of cultural presence and historical precedence on how powerful having those idleoments are for people who have done a lot of great things.
For example, it is known that, let me see right here if I can find it, Albert Einstein usedo have his most brilliant moments when he would go for a walk and not just like thinko much about the problems, just completely disconnect from whatever is stressing himut, whatever scientific concept of physics or anything.
He was just like, OK, I’m not going to figure it out now.
I’m just going to go for a walk.
I see if my brain can structure and figure it out.
That’s what you do sometimes.
And sometimes I have to remind you, like, hey, you can’t figure out this problem at work.
Let’s give it five minutes.
Pull yourself away from the screen.
And let’s return back to it after we get some sunshine, fresh air, move our bodies.
I feel like movement is so powerful, too.
You know, breaking breaking away from your desk or wherever you’re working, whereverou feel stuck, I think is the best first move to break those cycles of feeling like,h, I don’t know, I’m stuck in this negative cycle.
And then being able to move your body around is so beneficial in many ways.
I feel like I, for one, think so much better when I’m on my feet and moving around.
So I think that is a powerful example.
So going back to this, Steve Jobs was a known proponent of mindfulness and often took longalks while he said he said helped him think creatively.
So just the act of getting himself out of this oppressive space and just walk, be inature, like you were saying.
Not being contained in one spot.
Being in nature.
Oh, my gosh, I don’t know why I didn’t answer.
I didn’t include that earlier on.
But that is such a release, especially if you live in the city.
Like, I disagree with you whenever when you say, like, you feel more on edge here andaybe it’s because I’m an American and I grew up here, but I felt so on edge in Tokyo because
I was I was an outsider as a foreigner.
I was trying to speak another language like almost every day.
The big city really got to me.
I felt crowded.
I felt lonely, even though I was surrounded by millions of people.
I felt like I really had to work harder to give myself that kind of space there.
And maybe it’s because there is like literally more space where we live now.
I think that’s also something that your mind needs in order to process emotions, eventshat are occurring in your life.
Giving yourself space away from where you work, just being around a ton of people, althoughome people thrive off of that.
Most or a lot of people do need to have space to themselves.
And if you’re going home to a really tiny shoebox, then maybe that’s not that’s nothe best place to process things.
Maybe you need to go further into nature where you’re surrounded by trees, like that areroviding fresh oxygen, just an abundant amount of natural life that I feel is necessary too get through more of more of those complex feelings.
That makes sense.
Yeah, absolutely.
I do understand that we were bound to have different experiences.
And I think the reason why I feel a bit more on edge and I think maybe not being on edgeight not be the right term.
It might make it sound more intense than it actually is.
It’s more like a constant level of low stress.
It’s like a baseline.
Because while we were in Japan, our lives kind of felt like they were stuck.
And I understood that the best thing that I could do was just wait.
So in a way, I was just like, OK, let’s just be present.
Just enjoy being here.
Take every day as it comes and wait for what’s to come.
And now that we are here, there are so many things that I feel like we need to prepareor that we need to get back our time, especially for me, because I’m a bit older.
I feel like there’s a lot of work to do and I’m constantly just trying to catch up.
That might just be an illusion in my mind.
I might just be deceiving myself.
I might just be not understanding the reality of like, OK, maybe I just shouldn’t be stressingyself so much.
Like, our situation is better than what we think and things are going to go great.
That is my hope.
And like, I try to remind myself always that, like, yes, we are behind in some things, bute are also ahead in a lot of other things.
Yeah, I totally get that.
Yeah, it’s just like how we experience that in different ways.
And that’s totally fine.
But going back to the topic, I think that the fact that we both have ways to recoverur awareness, to enjoy the moment and try to like do things that engage our brains in positive, healthy way.
And I do think I do believe that we could be doing more.
Like I think we should revisit more of our art habits like painting.
And I’ve been doing a lot of writing and there were a lot of other healthy habits I usedo do in Japan that we can restart again.
It’s just like, you know, we’re still in the process of like getting our life back to normal.
But with those things, I mean, yeah, those are good outlets.
But would you define writing and painting as loafing?
No, but it helps my brain gain lucidity.
And I guess that’s maybe another topic that we can explore in a future episode.
I would love to explore that.
I just feel like maybe I brought it up because in my moments of loafing, my moments of beingdle of just experiencing the now, my brain takes to wake up.
It tends to be more peaceful, I guess.
And I kind of connect the two together.
And then in those moments when I’m really lucid, I try to create because that’s whenhe best, my best creations come out.
And I wish I could just like be lucid every day.
That would be great.
Maybe like the movie.
Have you seen was it Infinite?
What is it with Bradley Cooper?
The movie where he takes a drug and his brain is like working 100 percent.
Oh, I haven’t seen that, but I know what you’re talking about.
If you can think of the title, let us know.
Let us account.
That’s the Gmail.
That’s the email.
The Gmail.
That’s the Gmail.
It is the Gmail, too.
But no one’s like that.
That’s not.
No one is like that.
But if you know the movie, you know what I’m talking about.
Maybe the biggest geniuses or manager just caught his own tail.
He’s so happy.
Was that a moment of clarity for your manager?
No, that was a moment of clarity for him.
Do you think he reached clarity after that?
That was a moment of clarity, maybe the most brilliant people in the world, they are alwaysike that.
And maybe that’s because, you know, they are so strict with their habits and they just,ou know, rest and rest enough and feed themselves the right things and maybe genetics.
I don’t know.
But definitely just having that loafness.
I am.
I’m sure it helps a lot.
I mean, I’m curious to know how else it helps people and how how you incorporate that intoour daily routine.
It looks different for everyone.
And we are two people without kids.
So I’m sure it gets even harder whenever you have other people to look after working maybewo, three jobs.
It’s a lot for anyone, but I think it’s so important in the benefit.
You reap the benefits from just taking even a few minutes of idle time in your day.
So interested in hearing about your thoughts on this topic.
Please let us know how do you experience your loafing?
How do you just do nothing?
What is your favorite way to do nothing?
Let us know.
Does it make you feel guilty?
Like it does us.
Is it something that you’ve been doing for a while or have you been thinking about mayberying to do nothing?
Quote unquote.
And also it’s just interesting how a lot of cultures see doing nothing.
I mean, that that phrase right there is seen as negative.
It’s like, why are you why aren’t you doing anything?
Like you should be maximizing your your every minute.
Like if you want to get to the top, then don’t waste the second.
But that mindset is also very unhealthy.
And I think that we’re slowly trying to break that cycle and make it a more balanced lifestyle.
Yes, that’s great.
I think that we need to continue exploring this in the future episode.
And we will like many other things.
For now, we need to start closing this episode because our manager is getting a little bitmpatient.
Is there anything that you would like to share to our listeners?
Oh, well, I think you had a question you wanted to ask me unless you want to say that forext time.
No, I mean, it’s it might not be completely related to the topic that we’ve been talkingight now.
But that’s totally fine.
Yeah, it doesn’t matter.
This is our podcast and we do what we want.
That’s right.
Our manager agrees.
So we were talking, we were having a little bit of a loafing day today.
We were.
We had a loafing morning.
We were just like taking it easy, doing a few shorts, just going out, having a niceunch, doing some groceries.
We loafed.
Yeah, we loafed.
We took our time to just feel the nice weather and nature and just enjoy it.
You mean burning the nice weather?
So we were talking about learning about ourselves and growing up, when did you learn that youanted to be the person that you are now or like when did you learn that what you wereoing were things that were really you or that were learned because like, well, lete rephrase it.
Okay, you’re good.
Why did you realize what was not part of who you are, but something you thought you likedecause others were doing it or was expected of you?
Oh, okay.
So, for example, when you’re around your peers in high school, you tend to do things thathe popular kids do all the time, every day, every second of my life.
And you tell yourself like, oh, I like this.
I like this music.
I like this closer.
So when did I break free from that?
When you realize like, why do I even like this?
Oh, good question.
I would say not even until after I graduated from college and spent a couple of years interactingith people older than me, meeting new role models in my field.
But that was just a little taste.
That was a scratch of the surface.
I didn’t feel like I actually broke free and explored interests of my own for myself besidesike childhood, you know, because that’s very pure and that’s you don’t have a filter inhat time.
Like you create for yourself and you don’t care about the judgment of others or how iturns out.
But anyways, going to Japan was when I felt like I could break free from all of thoseudgments and expectations and really find myself, I guess, if you will.
Can you mention one thing that you realize like, this is not me.
Why do I do this?
Or why do I like this?
I know you mentioned early on country music.
You tried to like it, but you realized it wasn’t yours.
That was early on when I realized.
Yeah, that was really early.
It was like, I do not like this.
Maybe maybe drinking a lot.
Honestly, like I that was such a social thing for me.
And it still is, you know, on occasion.
But I felt like that was my social outlet.
Like that was how I was able to be more comfortable in my own skin and relate to others and goingard and going out.
That was when I can just let loose.
But it wasn’t it wasn’t really me who I was letting letting go of or giving myself spaceo be that person.
It was just me kind of I don’t know, watering down my personality and trying to conformather than truly finding interests that matter to me.
So I feel like that was I gained clarity on that when I went to Japan.
And there’s I mean, a big drinking culture there.
So I had a lot of fun, but I realized when I went home, I never felt that good.
So I’m glad that’s something that I let go of.
I mean, it’s not like I don’t drink anymore and I don’t enjoy it.
It’s just not something that I feel I have to engage in order to connect with people.
Good question.
Thank you.
How about you?
I feel like the one thing that I can really point out because it’s difficult.
Like there are a lot of behaviors that I internalized and then I kind of dropped subconsciously.
And sometimes you don’t even notice.
But yes, drinking was one for sure.
And I left that before coming to Japan or before going to Japan, actually, I realizedhat that wasn’t me, that it wasn’t bringing the real me and that I just was trying toit in.
One other thing was kind of like this idea that I need to be a womanizer kind.
I mean, it’s not necessarily like because I wasn’t I wasn’t I wasn’t anywhere closeo be like, you know, like I don’t want or anything.
But you felt like you needed to be.
And just letting go of that expectation of myself, like, why do I feel like this is who
I need to be?
And that was definitely after being in Japan.
Where do you think that expectation came from?
Culturally, for the most part.
But also like my dad was really he was a very social man and he was known for not necessarilylirting, but just, you know, he would talk with everybody.
And when he was younger, he was just really, you know, always in the middle, you know,lways all that.
And I guess life of the party.
And for the most part, I was aware that I wasn’t my dad, that I wasn’t like him.
But there were still some expectations that I kind of internalized that I need to be moreike him in some way.
Like, I need to be social.
I need to be good at approaching people.
I need to be good at creating relationships and creating networking and just always theart of the party, being funny, being resourceful, all those things that I kind of internalized.
And this is going more into a topic that maybe we can explore in another episode.
But it’s very interesting.
We’re going to keep it here because we’re going a little bit long today and our managers getting a bit impatient.
He’s really enjoying that ball.
But we’re really grateful for having you guys listen to us and our our Quirky Conversations.
We would love to hear about your personal behaviors or beliefs or ideas or just anythinghat you thought was part of who you are, but you realize that it was just somethinghat you internalized from someone else from either social pressure or conditioning.
Family expectations.
Family expectations.
Let us know.
Write us at
We’d love to hear from you.
If you want us to share it, we can share it.
If you don’t want us to share it and you just want to reach out to us.
That’s cool, too.
That’s also cool.
We are not going to just put everything out there like we respect your wishes.
Thank you so much for joining me today, my wife, my beautiful wife.
After this episode is done, I’m going to sing you some country music.
Oh, my.
And then we’ll have to save that for the next episode because everyone’s ready.
I mean, yeah, you can’t leave them hanging forever.
I’m setting the expectation now that I’m going to kill it.
I’m going to kill it next time.
Well, the pleasure has been mine.
Thank you so much for being a great podcast co-host.
And thank you to our lovely listeners.
We’ll see you next time.
Have a great day.
Hell yeah.
yee haw.
Well, the first one.

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