Most of us are busy.
The world’s just so fast now. With so much to hook our attention, our energy output can start to feel like a fish on a line thrashing this way and that as though all the motion is bringing us closer to something. Whatever that something may be.
I’m compulsively busy. Always have been.
Maybe it’s my personality. Maybe it’s my passion and drive. Maybe it’s my need to express art and ideas. Maybe it’s my longing for connection and intimacy with others. Maybe it’s my limited capacity to say no and create limits. Maybe it’s my need to fill an inner emptiness, or be of service to the world, or attempt to escape death through high paced thriving, or addiction to stimuli, or fear of being inadequate, or a stirring terror of what lurks in the silence and stillness of that which exists between moments that are so easy to fill with the fast food of life. Maybe it’s the cultural centre of gravity that holds value in pace, production, visibility and connection.
I’m quite certain that it’s all of these things, which sure does create a momentum that’s hard to hold a steady hand of resistance to.
This awesome article whipped through the internet world. In it he aims and shoots right through the heart of a lot of this busyness drive. He points out the way in which we celebrate this compulsion by saying “it’s a good problem to have”.
When I read that line, I wanted to barf. I’d said that several times that week. I felt busted and exposed. Why is that a good problem to have?
Here’s the truth of it. I’m grateful that I’m busy in certain contexts. I’m grateful that I am booked solid with clients- I get to do my work, connect deeply and help to transform people’s lives. I’m grateful to have a waiting list-(though I tell ya, writing those first few emails saying I wasn’t available was excruciating,) it makes me feel like my work in the world is acknowledged and meaningful and having an impact. It gives me a sense of security and grounding and a lot of space from feeling like I need to hustle or strive or prove anything.
I’m grateful for my massive community of friends and family and colleagues. I feel alive and engaged and get to contribute to and learn from them. I get to feel like I am participating in creating and evolving culture by having the depth of relationships that I do.
I am grateful for being a mother, for the opportunity to experience and express the greatest love that exists, to get to raise a good man, to participate in the extraordinary becoming of my favourite human being.
While this is a lot, while my life is full and my engagement with it fierce, it’s a lie that I have to be busy.
Here’s the truth beneath the truth. I’m ashamed of how busy I am. It makes me feel as though I have bought into a cultural paradigm that’s based on valuing a whole lot of bullshit. It makes me feel as though I have been sucked into the undercurrent of distraction and compulsion. It makes me feel as though I am failing at skillful discernment and depth of priority. When someone I love starts a sentence with “I know how busy you are, but I was hoping we could…” I cringe. While I appreciate that they’re trying to honour me and my space and my boundaries, I fear that I’m leaving others with the experience that they’re not a priority. When what I want to give is my full heart and presence. And yet busyness compulsion creates everything as a priority when it’s just not possible to live a nourishing life that way.
When I wake up to a schedule that is packed with no transition time, dead time, breathing room- I feel like I’m suffocating. I look for things I can drop, delegate, systematize. Then around every corner is an opportunity- bright ideas, shining people, sparkling potential. But the truth of my nature, the truth of what I have to offer and the truth how I can most honour myself, my calling and this world, will not be found in a pace that pulls me from the ground.
It is a divine paradox that we need roots in order to truly fly.
And so in this busyness dance we must learn to be warriors. Warriors of honour. It’s subtle and challenging and demands discernment. Honour our word, and honour our souls. Honour our needs even when they’re seemingly in conflict. Honour our connection with others by first honouring our connection to our holiness. Honour rhythms that span time-frames beyond what our current pace can conceive of. Honour silence. Honour suffering. Honour what we long to escape from through our purchases and products and personalities. Honour our depth and our joy and our longing. Honour our boundaries. Honour our own interior systems of order over what pulls at us externally.
I love being productive. I love being connected. I love being of service.
Being busy doesn’t honour any of that at all.