|Abstract mixed media florals created in the online class 'Lifebook 2014'|
The other day I was feeling that I had gone beyond busy and was headed towards overwhelmed. If you know me, you know that biting off more than I can chew is essentially my modus operandi. Luckily, I live in such a beautiful part of the world. I take a 10 minute drive between built up areas to get from home to work and in that relatively small space I drive through a children’s farm and some wetlands which are really unfettered parkland.
Just as I felt my inner world closing in and suffocating me the outer world reminded me that there is always space if you choose to see it. The crushing clutter is self-made. There is always air – you just have to remember to stop and take a breath of it.
I should also thank One Republic, who at this very point in time were singing to me - my summer anthem I think – I lived. Definitely a message from the universe. Or perhaps just from One Republic. I’m happy either way.
Hope when the moment comes, you’ll say “I, I did it all. I owned every second that this world could give……Yeah, with every broken bone, I swear, I lived” - One Republic
I was at the point of berating myself for doing too many things at once, for racing through life, juggling too many unnecessary balls. But One Republic reframed that for me. “With every broken bone, I swear, I lived”.
Fortunately, my broken bones are metaphorical. I actually like being busy. I want to ‘own every second that this world could give’. It tells me that I am making the most of the opportunities that come my way. People regret not doing things far more than they regret doing them.
But was Socrates right when he warned to “beware the barrenness of a busy life”?
‘Busy’ describes engagement in an activity, being occupied, not idle. It can also mean cluttered with detail, even to the point of distraction. The very definition of the word reminds us that there is a continuum of busyness. On one end gainful occupation, on the other frenzied, meaningless activity.
The way you feel about being busy is a good indication of how connected you are to your core values. If you are busy meeting other people’s expectations of yourself, doing things because you think you should, then it is likely that you feel resentful about being busy. But if the activities that make you busy are in line with the things that you value most, then there is probably no better way to spend your time.
It is not that I am against slowing down, finding moments of peace and quiet contemplation away from all the activity. Far from it. But like the ebb and flow of the ocean, or the rise and fall of a swing you just can’t have one without the other.