Freedom from the Glorification of Busyness

“Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be a man who is brisk about his work — what, I wonder, do these busy folks get done?”  ~ Soren Kierkegaard

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How many times can you remember asking someone how they’re doing…and they usually respond with a smile and say…”busy!”  That’s the new go-to response.  How are you?

Busy!

Everyone’s just trying to get from here to there.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be busy living my life.  I would like to live my life fully…or how about…mindfully.  Personally, I am still learning how to make this adjustment myself.

Philosopher Soren Kierkegaard noticed this 150 years ago.  That busyness was a sign of unhappiness — a means of distraction.

We are human beings, not human doings.  We live in a society that glorifies busyness.      

I don’t think busy is necessarily a good thing.  Busy doing what?  Busy thinking? Busy worrying?  Busy is not synonymous with productive.  Busy doesn’t mean working really hard…or caring a lot, or successful. Just think about what busy means.

Busy – lively, but meaningless activity. Having a great deal to do.  Occupied – being used by someone. Unavailable. Preoccupied – dominate or engross the mind to the exclusion of other thoughts.

None of that sounds like a good thing. There is no real connection being made while we are in a busy state. A busy person is not available to you.  They may be physically there…but perhaps not really.  Remember the busy phone signal?

“When you begin to relinquish your ego, you will no longer feel compelled to prove to people how busy you are in an attempt to validate your sense of worth.”  ~ Miya Yamanouchi

We are not robots who were designed and meant to just get things done.  At what cost? The cost of losing everything that makes us human?

I think glorified busyness distracts us from what’s really going on — what’s really there in our lives. If we just keep moving, perhaps it won’t catch up to us.  

Ok.  So, what’s the opposite of busy? Lazy?  I’m definitely not advocating for laziness.  I think it’s this:

Free.

Not just in the sense that your schedule is free, but you are free.

We can have the experience of being free while still accomplishing everything we want to accomplish.  You just don’t feel…busy…while you’re getting things done.

“A leisurely pace accomplishes more than hurried striving.” ~ Sarah Young 

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I love being with people who can be still. People who can just sit there and be. They don’t need to say anything to fill up the silence.  They’re not thinking about the next thing they have to do or the next place they have to be, because they’re right here.

There is quite a noticeable difference between the busy person and the mindful person. The one who is present.

The interesting thing about this is you don’t really have to change a thing. While going about your day today, try not to feel so busy.  See what happens.  

“Your soul doesn’t care what you do for a living – and when your life is over, neither will you. Your soul cares only about what you are being while you are doing whatever you are doing.”  ~ Neale Donald Walsch

Funny Things Kids Say in Counseling

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I’m sure we can all relate to wanting to burst into laughter while trying to hold it in.

As a school counselor, I get a glimpse into how kids see the world through their eyes. I wanted to take a moment to look at the lighter side of school counseling, and some of the funny things that have been said over the years.

I have to admit, with some of these, you just had to be there.


 

(During an elementary classroom introduction at the beginning of the school year.)

Counselor – “Does anyone know what a school counselor does?”

Student – “They cancel school!”

I thought about this for a moment and where he could have come up with this.

Counselor – “Oh!  You must of heard school canceler,  It’s school counselor!

As the class bursts into laughter, I thought about what it would be like to be a School Canceler…like I go around cancelling school.  “Alright everybody, schools cancelled! Whoo-hoo!”


 

6th grader – “My dad doesn’t work.”

Counselor – “Ah, so your dad’s not working right now.”

The student responds with the most sincerity.

6th grader – “No, my dads a Stay-at-Home Mom.”

Laughing on the inside while moving on.


 

2nd grader – “People don’t really know what I am.”

I noticed he had said this like a wise old man, beyond his years.  Meanwhile, I’m wondering why he didn’t say who I am.  He said what I am.

Counselor –  “Oh, well…what are you?”

Student saying this again slowly, wise beyond his years. 

2nd grader – “I’m just a guy in a blue jacket.”

Laughing on the inside.  I’m not sure if he meant to be that profound in his statement. And yes, he was wearing a blue jacket.  Read more

We All Suffer

“It is because mankind are disposed to sympathize more entirely with our joy than with our sorrow, that we make parade of our riches, and conceal our poverty.  Nothing is so mortifying as to be obliged to expose our distress to the view of the public, and to feel, that though our situation is open to the eyes of all mankind, no mortal conceives for us the half of what we suffer.” ~ Adam Smith

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We don’t necessarily like to advertise our suffering.  We mainly see the best moments and highlight reels of people’s lives, while many of the deeper and lonelier moments are kept concealed.

The truth is, we all suffer, at the deepest levels.  Every single one of us. No one is immune to bad days.  We all have them.  

We go about our lives, pretending to have it all together — and on some days, it may even feel like we actually do.

We don’t.

We may at times fall under an illusion that we are in control.

We aren’t.

We know this deep down, as we become reminded of this hard truth at times in our lives — the times when reality comes crashing down upon you — feeling alone, and we cry…if we allow ourselves to.  We want to be strong for our loved ones, our spouses, our kids, driven by the fear of appearing weak when in fact, showing our humanity is not weakness.

I’ve spoken to many people whose pain and suffering happens to rise to the surface…unexpected, and in that moment, their loneliness revealed, despondency expressed — weeping about how alone and scared they really feel…at the deepest levels — the depths in which we rarely ever let anyone in far enough to see.  

We are like onions, having many layers that can be peeled back.  Many of us only ever get to see the top layer in most of our relationships.  There are many more layers to a person. We all have them.

We often do not have a safe space where we can reveal them. Read more

In Light of the 58th Presidential Inauguration, Here are Some of my Favorite Quotes on Leadership

In light of the 58th Presidential Inauguration, we have the transfer of power — and with that comes new leadership for our country.  I thought I’d share some of my favorite quotes on leadership.
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“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” ~ John Wooden

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.  He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” ~ Douglas MacArthur

“The supreme quality of leadership is integrity.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

“I never thought in terms of being a leader, I thought in terms of helping people.” ~ John Hume

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” ~ Lao Tzu

“Real leadership is leaders recognizing that they serve the people they lead.” ~ Pete Hoekstra

“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” ~ John C. Maxwell

“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, and a little less than his share of the credit.” ~ Arnold H. Glasow

“When people talk, listen completely.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” ~ Harvey S. Firestone

“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” ~ Publilius Syrus

“A leader is not an administrator who loves to run others, but someone who carries water for his people so that they can get on with their jobs.” ~ Robert Townsend

“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts.  It is about one life influencing another.” ~ John C. Maxwell

“Leadership is an action, not a position.” ~ Donald McGannon

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” ~ John Quincy Adams

“Leadership is a choice, not a position.” ~ Stephen Covey

“What you do has far greater impact than what you say” ~ Stephen Covey

“Leadership is communicating others’ worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.” ~ Stephen Covey

“The challenge of leadership is to:
be strong, but not rude;
be kind, but not weak;
be bold, but not bully;
be thoughtful, but not lazy;
be humble, but not timid;
be proud, but not arrogant;
have humor, but without folly.” ~ Jim Rohn

Who Are You?

“If we are honest with ourselves, the most fascinating problem in the world is…who am I? What do you mean…what do you feel when you say the word, I.”  ~ Alan Watts


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I’m writing this article, not because I’ve attained the answer, but because I’d like to pass this information along, as I would have wanted to read something like this earlier.  If I had to choose only one thing to watch out for — to beware of in life — it is this:

You.  Yourself.  Ego.

The infamous ego.  From Freud’s Id, Ego, Superego, to “He’s gotta big ego,” we’ve all heard about it one way or another. Ego, in my opinion, is probably the biggest thing that gets into anyone’s way. All too often, we are the ones getting in our own ways.  We have the ability to deceive ourselves like no one else can.

Your worst enemy lives inside of you, and it’s called ego.

Eckhart Tolle often says, “I can’t live with myself. Well…who is ‘I’… and who is the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with?”

So what exactly is ego?  Well, I would describe it as everything you think you are, in a nutshell.  The feeling of “I,” or what we mean when we say “I,” as Sam Harris, Alan Watts, and many others put it. When you are talking to yourself, who are you talking to?  The feeling of being a self.  We tend to identify with our story, our thoughts, and our emotions. Ego is the reason we may feel the need to defend “ourselves.”  We are defending an idea of our self that we feel is threatened.  When we are not identifying with this, the need to defend ourselves also goes away.

Read more

Gratitude

“The struggle ends when gratitude begins.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

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As we enter into the month of November, with Thanksgiving upon us, I’d like to take a moment to reflect and express gratitude.  I find myself at times feeling thankful for having any kind of experience at all, positive or negative.  It really is a miracle to be having any conscious experience.  The miracle of life is happening all around us, and it can easily go unnoticed from day-to-day.

There is always beauty to be found right in front of  us — seeing the awe-inspiring sky, the mountains in the distance, hearing the birds chirping, hearing my kids playing together.  All of these things are going on, even in what seems to be a chaotic and tumultuous political landscape at the moment.  

Sometimes I try to be thankful for what some may call the most basic things — being able to see, hear, feel, taste, smell, touch, walk, talk, think, laugh, smile.  I love being able to walk outside and feel the warmth of the sun on my face, the smell of the fresh morning air, or the coolness of the morning wind. I sometimes walk outside my door and pause for a moment, just to appreciate being alive.

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I recently came across a video with comedian Louis C.K., in which he expresses how we are lucky to even live sad moments.  Living sad moments can help us more fully appreciate joyful moments.

We can be thankful that we can cry about something we really care about. Read more

New Website! Spirituality, Meditation, Counseling, Education, Music, and more!

Hello, readers,

If you’ve come upon my new blog, I’d like to welcome and thank you for checking it out.

Lately, I’ve been pondering different ways to express my thoughts, ideas, observations, and life experiences thus far.  I’ve come to the conclusion that a blog format may be the best solution for me.

I’m sitting in my chair, having some hot green tea, and writing down decent looking website themes from the hundreds to choose from.  I’m hoping that this blog is not only helpful to me, but perhaps may be of some value for others.

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My friends and colleagues that know me are aware that I have many roles. I’m a father of two beautiful girls, a husband, school counselor, musician, educator, brother, son…the list goes on.  I think more importantly that if all of my roles were taken away, I would consider myself to be a loving human being.

I have a prodigious interest in many topics.  I love to learn, and will always consider myself to be a lifelong learner.  Most of this blog will be about life and general topics I take interest in.  Some future topics that will probably make their way into this blog are spirituality, meditation, relationships, music, education, counseling, self-care, wellness, gaming, and books to name a few.  I’m also hoping to post some interviews in podcast form.

That’s all for now.  Feel free to leave a comment regarding the blog, future topics, etc.

Thanks for reading!