Last month, amid a string of private facebook conversation messages I was roped into (and eventually figured out how to bow out of continuing to receive), someone in the chain of messages said the following:
“I won’t be able to breathe until after Labor Day, I’m so very busy.”
And I thought: Goodness, I think something needs to change.
If we’re too busy to breathe, too busy to live life well, perhaps it’s time to do something a little different.
If you’ve been following me here on this blog, you know that I’ve written a few times about my dislike of any response having to do with the word busy. As in:
Gosh, I’m just sooo busy! or
I’ve been CRAZY busy! or
Well, ya know, I’m super busy.
I personally practice to avoid using this word. It is such a pervasive sentiment, anymore. So many conversations with people are hijacked at some point by the word busy. What does it even mean to be busy? Isn’t life comprised of action? Saying we’re busy is like saying we’re alive, and ya know, doing stuff. Hmmm.
My working theory here is that the word busy is affixed to our inner need to be validated as someone worthy and important. We use this word in an attempt to show others that we’re not just sitting around on our butts watching TV, or becoming consumed in our own small affairs. And, ultimately, we use this word to convince ourselves that our time is not being wasted or squandered away, which it probably is, to some extent. The state of busyness, then, becomes an excuse that we can point to easily as a means of letting us off the hook in terms of having to deal with what’s actually going on. Busyness is not a state of physical being, it’s a mental manifestation of our disconnection.
When people toss the word busy into my lap, as in: WOW, you’re busy! or You sure sound busy, I practice responding, when it’s appropriate (which it isn’t always), by saying something like: Well, I don’t feel busy. Which is true. I practice not to feel busy. I practice not to live a busy lifestyle. I practice not to dwell in the mental landscape of busyness. Even when I have full days or full weeks of activity, I practice the art of being a non-busy person. There is no way to peace, peace is the way.
Dear friends, please don’t put off your ability to breathe until you become less busy. Please don’t put off living your life well until your days become less full of things to do. The way in which we live is truly up to us, right here and right now. With this moment, we’re laying the groundwork for the next moment…and the next one after that.