the busy trap

Mindfulness-and-Living-a-Busy-Life ..
Perhaps the problem isn’t “busy.” Perhaps the problem is the reason behind busy.

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There are people who have kids. There are people who have jobs. There are people who have kids and jobs, but, the fact is, the majority of our lives aren’t spent worrying about us. It’s spent worrying about others. Or money. Or food. Or _________.

And that’s the way it should be — to a certain extent, anyway. No one wants to be a narcissist. But there’s a part of us that’s important, too. We have to like ourselves, we have to accept ourselves, just the way we are, before all of the busy. We have to have goals for ourselves without all of the busy. Otherwise . . . the busy is just . . .

Busy.

Empty.

A cover-up.

A sham.

An attempt to hide what we really feel inside, which is, ____________.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my busy lately. Why am I so compelled towards perfection? Why do I feel better on a day I accomplish a lot than when I only do a little? Why do I seek to control my life when I know, deep down, that control is only an illusion? Why do I equate busyness with success?

011-Busy-is-a-Drug-webThe truth is: History’s movers and shakers have never been people who sat around. Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa aren’t remembered because they thought about doing nice things for others. They’re remember because they did something nice for others . . .

But even movers and shakers need quiet moments of reflection. Even they need a reason for what they do.

And I think that that’s my problem, and maybe others’, too. I get so caught up in the busy that I forget what the busy is there for. I forget what I’m trying to accomplish and where I’m headed. I ignore the fact that, in trying to control my life, it’s actually controlling me. And then I wonder why I get discouraged in the process — why my goals seem so far away.

My busy is in the way.

Every life has a purpose. It’s up to us to find that purpose each day. I hope you don’t get caught up in the busy like I do. I hope you find a better way.

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Images: Google

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23 thoughts

  1. There is some powerful revelation going on here. Sometimes, your goals are in the distance, but you can still be working toward them. Sometimes. they can be obscured. As long as busy doesn’t become you goal, I think you’ll be OK. One of the benefits of life at your age, is that there are still so many ways in which you can move.

    • Thanks for the positive feedback, Dan. Busy is definitely not my goal, but it does get in the way sometimes. Your comment about life at my age is likely going to show up in my next post. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while.

      Hope you’re having a good weekend!

  2. i disagree. Most of our worrying is about ourselves, our egos, our self doubts, our self-importance. And it tends to be compulsive, non-stop. To tell you the truth, I’m very worried about it. Ach! How to escape from the tyrrany of the worried mind. Everybody has their own ways. Aside from Dr. King and Gandhi and a handful of others, all those movers and shakers are most of them megalomaniacs, and/or other types of maniacs. After all, who aspires to be president of the U.S? Keep on fightin’ and keep on playin that country music!

    • Nice to hear from you, Bumba. You have a point about self-worry, We all think about ourselves a good amount over a lifetime… But I do know that, on my busiest days at school or wherever, I don’t have a lot of time to think about myself. I’m pulled in too many other directions. I mostly have to fly by the seat of my pants! I think a lot of parents with young kids feel the same way. I’m sure this changes, though, with time and age.

      Certainly some of history’s movers and shakers were crazy and, some, power hungry. We all know the names Attila the Hun and Napoleon Bonaparte. Not the nicest of fellows, if you consider their actions. But at least they were out there *doing* something. Many people these days seem content to sit back and watch life pass them by.

  3. I live in Austria. These people have perfected efficiency such that the majority of the time is spent playing. there is value for not caring about the rat race…

  4. It’s a little inane, but I recently heard “busy” defined as “Being Under Satan’s Yoke” (B-U-S-Y), which stuck with me.

    In Bible times, a rabbi’s teaching or interpretation of scripture, and thus, how to live according to it, was known as that rabbi’s “yoke.” EG: Jesus says in Matthew 11:30 “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Unlike many rabbis of his day, Jesus was saying his interpretation of scripture was freeing, rather than restrictive and legalistic like many others’.

    Fast forwarding to today, I guess that mnemonic device is striking because it is true that we are very susceptible to becoming over-busy, which distracts us from living with purpose, which is exactly what Satan wants to see, particularly if that purpose is Christ-centered.

    • Very interesting take on busy, Homie. I like your last paragraph best. It’s true that in getting caught up in busy it is easy to lose sight of our goal, which is ironic, if you think about it. Our busy is supposed to be getting us *closer* to our goals, not further away from them. It is also true that much of today’s busy is self-imposed. Every time I go for a run or ride out in nature I know that life today is not the way Christ meant it to be.

  5. Very deep post. “…what the busy is there for”. Interesting thought. Somehow I feel like this thought extends beyond the fact that we worry about how society looks at us. Maybe we’re always doing things because we want to learn and keep moving, keep moving to find the next best thing…but everything in life will always be ahead of us.

    • Thanks so much for commenting, Mabel. I always look forward to your thoughts! You’re right that that comment extends further than worrying about society. Mostly, I was thinking about the goals we have long-term, which our daily activities are (hopefully) moving us toward. I tend to get caught up in the “daily grind,” and, in so doing, put off things like researching grad school, etc., which is really more important in the bigger picture.

      • Sometimes the daily grind is a means to an end in some ways, as sad as that may sound. At the end of the day, we all have to eat, we all have to pay the bills and take care of our health. Sometimes something’s got to give…at least that’s what I think. Now you’ve got me thinking about balance again…arggh! :D

        Good luck with grad school. I know you can do it :)

  6. Busy is good. busy is purpose. Deciphering the clutter in our lives that cause excess stress, worry, obligation is the hard part instead of focusing our energies on productive things. Books are written on this like The One Minute Monkey. Good Luck!

  7. What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.

    No time to stand beneath the boughs
    And stare as long as sheep or cows.

    No time to see, when woods we pass,
    Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

    No time to see, in broad daylight,
    Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

    No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
    And watch her feet, how they can dance.

    No time to wait till her mouth can
    Enrich that smile her eyes began.

    A poor life this is if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare.
    William Henry Davies

  8. Use to get caught up in this type of busy all the time, and you are right it is so defeating…but then it is possible to change. Great verse in Daosism goes somewhat like this: when nothing is done, nothing remains undone. Enjoy the relaxing moments of life, they are too few :-)

    • I like that verse, Randall, though too much of nothing leaves me with an equally disheartening feeling. It’s all about balance… Hope you had a great weekend!!

  9. Hello :) Jessica – sometimes I feel we are living parallel lives, LOL – we always seem to post on similar topics in close succession (usually you are before me – like with the religion one you wrote last year). I actually just wrote a post on a very similar topic called “Make Space Not Time” on my blog. I hope you will check it out. :) Much love!

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