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

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

Counseling, Relationships, & Wellness Throughout the Lifespan

“Sometimes I think we feign surrender in order to avoid the hard stuff that’s really there.” ~ Dr. L. Marinn Pierce

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In this episode of the Mindful Owl podcast, Dr. L. Marinn Pierce and I discuss counseling and relationships between wellness, spirituality, and personal dispositions of practicing professional counselors.

Some topics discussed are:

  • What is Counseling?
  • Integral Breath Therapy (IBT) – Integration Concepts
  • Wellness, Spirituality, and Personal Dispositions of Professional Counselors
  • Counselor Impairment
  • Empathy vs Compassion
  • Client-Centered vs Present-Centered
  • Religion and Spiritualty
  • Yoga, Meditation, and Present Moment Awareness
  • Trauma Bonds and Relationships
  • Disembodiment
  • Bypass

and much more…

Dr. L. Marinn Pierce is an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Counselor Education at California State University, Fresno.  She received her B.M. in Music Education from Brenau University, M.S. in Community counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Ed.S. in Community Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of Tennessee.  Dr. Pierce’s clinical experience includes work with a variety of populations across multiple settings. While her primary area of emphasis is children and youth and their families, she has worked with adolescents in residential treatment, individuals with diverse counseling needs in community outpatient settings, children and adolescents in intensive outpatient and partial-hospitalization, and child and adolescent victims of sexual trauma.  Her research interests include counselor professional identity development, wellness, and the integration of spirituality into the counseling process. – American Counseling Association (ACA)

Hope you enjoy!

Listen on iTunes

You can reach Dr. Pierce @MarinnPierce on Twitter or lpierce@csufresno.edu

Further resources shared by Dr. Pierce:

Twitter

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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

School Counseling and Dual Relationships Among Staff

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Our Ethical Standards for School Counselors have been updated for 2016, becoming much more specific in certain areas.  One area I’d like to point out is regarding dual relationships and managing boundaries — not just with students, but with school staff.

According to the American School Counseling Association Code of Ethics (2016), school counselors are to avoid dual relationships beyond the professional level with school personnel, parents/guardians and students’ other family members when these relationships might infringe on the integrity of the school counselor/student relationship (A.5.c).

You don’t find ethical tenets like this for teachers and other educators, but for counselors, it is more specific on the importance of keeping our relationships with staff professional.  This can present some challenges as you might have guessed, especially with building positive relationships with staff and feeling connected to the school.  Boundaries have to be continuously monitored as we manage multiple relationships among staff, students, and parents.  I’ve come across some great writing on this titled, Dual Relationships in Counseling by Gerald Corey, EdD, and Barbara Herlihy, PhD, which was written in the early 90’s, and I find it to be very relevant today. Read more

We Need to Look at Ourselves First

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself.”  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

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I once had a teacher express their frustration to me regarding their 1st-grade student not taking responsibility for himself and his actions.  I responded with, “You know what?  I know a lot of adults who are still struggling with that.”

Hearing expressions such as these are common, as school counselors also provide consultation services for teachers and administrators.  We hear many challenges and frustrations while helping to provide meaningful insight to better understand the children in their classrooms.  Do we want our children to learn how to take responsibility?   Of course.  However, knowing that this is a struggle for everyone can help us be more patient, kind, and understanding with our students.

We as educators have to meet kids where they’re at.  We can’t put expectations on kids that we as adults are not meeting.  We have to model the desired behaviors we want our children and future generations to grow up learning.  We can’t expect anything upon them we ourselves are not doing.

We need to live the values we teach.   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.

What Matters Most

“In the the end, these things matter most:  How well did you love?  How fully did you live?  How deeply did you let go?” ~ Buddha

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Photo:  Moments to Remember, by Mark Keathley

I think a lot about what matters most in any given set of circumstances.  I’ve found that there’s always a deeper connection and core foundation to every interaction, whether the relationship is interpersonal or symbiotic.

Often times, I believe we lose sight of this deep foundational connection throughout our day to day interactions; specifically with people.

Everyday, like clockwork, we wake up, get out of bed, get ready, go to work or school, get off of work, maybe go to the store, pick up some groceries, put some gas in the car, go home, eat some dinner, go to bed, etc….then do it all over again the next day.  It’s often easy to get caught up in the routines of daily living.  For most, throughout our routines of daily living, it is very likely that we will have to deal with people.

Let’s take a look at Christmas.  Just this year, I observed family and friends rushing to decorate, scrambling to finish up last minute shopping, impatiently standing in long lines at the store, frantically wrapping gifts, toiling over dinner and dishes, all adding to their stress level and in the end, negatively impacting their interactions with their loved ones.  This is an example of purpose defeating behavior. We should never defeat our entire purpose for doing anything.  We need to remember the core reasons why we’re doing what it is we’re doing; and this is the deep foundational connection I am referring to.

We all tend to get caught up in the minutiae of life, we get lost in all of the small trivial details, forgetting about the person or people right in front of us.  Often times, we even tend to not see people as people.  We tend to see and treat people as a thing or obstacle to overcome.  We view other human beings as customers, clients, numbers, credit scores, dollar signs, students, panhandlers, grades….etc.

We forget to be kind. Read more