The Seeds of Doing Nothing

Alaiya Aguilar

About Alaiya Aguilar

Alaiya Aguilar graduated with honors from the California College of Art. She currently lives in Vermont, where she explores themes of inner liberation through her painting practice. Alaiya’s extensive experience in the psychological and spiritual arenas deepen her interpretation of Jewish text on the canvas.

About The Seeds of Doing Nothing

Rest is Activism This triptych is painted on paper with acrylic and collage. It combines the image of a chair as a symbol of sitting and doing nothing with unplanted fields referencing the original intent of the shmita year. In these blending of images, it proposes a modernized practice of shmita based on the Dutch practice of niksen, or “doing nothing.” In modern times most of us have little personal relationship with farming land. But what we “farm”, what we overwork is ourselves. The fields here are rich with color and imagery suggesting the richness that await us in just “being” and which is in counterpoint to the collage word arches filled with the goal-oriented action words of our daily lives. “Planted” in the fields are words related to the practice of non-doing. The autumn scene has words that further explains the practice while the spring scene expresses the deeper level of balance this practice gets at; that of bringing into balance the natural masculine/doing and feminine/being energies that exist in all of us. In the center of the painting sephirot flow, not from Keter, but from Rest. From rest all else springs. In our Soul or Being waits a natural balance if we only take the time to stop and look within. In taking time each day to just sit, to be bored in a waiting room, to watch coffee drip, to daydream, we return to a healthier balance, our own naturalness, and honor, in a relevant way the innate wisdom of shmita. And if we continue to dominate and subjugate ourselves, our own bodies, how can we hope to create in the world what we cannot create in our own lives?