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

Committing to the Present Moment

“Mindfulness practice means that we commit fully in each moment to be present; inviting ourselves to interface with this moment in full awareness, with the intention to embody as best we can an orientation of calmness, mindfulness, and equanimity right here and right now.” ~ John Kabat-Zinn

BP; Desert Plain

I love the above quote from John Kabat-Zinn, especially because he uses the word, commit, very intentionally.  Commit has a Latin origin, meaning to join, combine; to bring together. The more modern definition of commit is to carry out, pledge, bind, or devote.  It also refers to the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, or undertaking.

Reflecting on how commitment applies to the present moment really shifted the way I thought about being present.  Think about joining and binding, bringing you together with the here & now — combining into one totality of experience — that this is all there is and this is where it’s at…where life happens.

I often think how esoteric this may seem due to the mundane and everydayness of life.  We tend to not connect with the present moment and miracles happening day-to-day.  It’s really not something we think about as days of our lives go by. I believe that many of us live the majority of our lives lost in our thoughts without even realizing it.  I go more into depth about this in a previous article, “Why You Should Think About Your Death.”

I believe that we all have different degrees of FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) when it comes to staying in the present moment. FoMO is usually associated with social media, but I think it really maps onto the present moment as well.  We all tend to get pulled into the past or future, perhaps being afraid we might forget something we’ll have to do later.  This constant thinking about what we will do later disconnects us with right now.  Sometimes the present moment is unpleasant or uncomfortable, and it becomes even more difficult to stay there.  The end result is not being fully present in the here and now.

That should be the real FoMO. Read more

New Podcast! Mindfulness in Schools

“Were so busy following a script and putting academics in front of kids, that we forget that they’re people–learning truly only happens through relationship.” ~ Shannon Hess

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How can we really make a difference in the world through education?  In this episode, Shannon Hess and I discuss some of the problems in education today, and how implementing mindfulness and teaching empathy can be a solution.

Shannon has a wide breadth and background in education. She is currently an induction coordinator for new teachers, mindfulness educator, and social justice advocate in California.  Shannon has a passion for making a difference in the lives of others through connecting to what we all share in common within our humanity. Shannon advocates for the importance of the relationship and discusses ways on how we can revolutionize education, ultimately changing the world.

Keep an eye out for The Five Ms Project, which focuses on self-care and mental well-being.

Mental Health, Mindset, Mindfulness, Mindsight, Movement

Hope you enjoy!

Listen on iTunes

Resources and links discussed in this episode:

http://www.mindfulschools.org

http://therepresentationproject.org

https://www.spiritrock.org

http://thehawnfoundation.org

http://www.stillquietplace.com

http://www.tarabrach.com

You can reach and connect with Shannon at sh41ster@gmail.com

For more on relationships and breaking the generational cycle as discussed in this episode, check out What Matters Most and Breaking the Vicious Cycle.