I don’t like the word busy.  Its a hollow word that has lost meaning for me.  While it’s true that my life (along with just about everyone else’s) could classify under the dictionary definition of busy, which is to be actively and attentively engaged in work or a pastime, I don’t enjoy using this word in response to questions like How are you? or How was your day?  I try not to use the word busy to describe any part of my day or life.  To me the word busy has been culturally redefined and is now designated to a state of mental and physical being that has become seemingly “out of our control.”  We take on this burdensome tone when talking about our busyness as though someone else has thrust all of these things onto our plate and we were powerless to do anything about it.  We’re all various degrees of busy: crazy busy, super busy, plain ol’ busy, pretty busy, oh-my-god busy, and so on.  I get it.  We’re ALL busy.  But what does that really mean?  How is telling people how busy we are an accurate depiction of what we’re really doing with our time and energy?  

We use busyness as an excuse to get out of things we don’t want to do, as the reasoning for why we forgot something important, and as a blanket statement to sum up our weekend or week or month or year.  But what are we really saying when we use the word busy?  Perhaps we insert that word in places where something else would be more fitting, more connective, more authentic to our actual experience.  Perhaps we use that word as a reflex and don’t really know why we’re using it at all.  Perhaps we really do feel like our life is out of our control and busy is the only word that makes sense.

I think it’s worth investigating this social plague called busyness.  I think it’s worth asking ourselves some questions as to our use of this word in regards to how we interact with others, and more importantly with how we interact with our own self.  If we’re unsatisfied with how our days are playing out, with the direction our lives are going, or with our current situation and quality of life it’s up to us to do something different in order to bring about change.  If we’re feeling overwhelmed by what we’re choosing to do with our time the good news is that we can usually do something about it.  Even if we can’t necessarily alter a particular event or situation we always have sway over our attitude, our point of view, and how we respond.

May we all try not to get caught in thinking that life is just pulling us along for the ride – it’s not that we’re being pulled, it’s a matter of us holding on.

2 thoughts on “Busy?

  1. Yes, absolutely. Disengage from the “busyiness” mind–we can still work quickly but remain aligned with the quiet stillness behind. That’s the hope, anyway, what Thich Naht Hanh and others teach, what I try to practice and remember . . .

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