I have been away from this blog. Because I have been “busy.” My calendar is full. I can’t get important projects finished. The things I want to do keep getting pushed farther into the future. I am at capacity.
I definitely don’t want to glorify busy, but I also don’t want to ignore it. The busy trap has taken over my life, with no end in sight. I’ve long since stopped using the b word when people ask me how I am, but changing my language doesn’t mean my life has changed.
In many ways, the disease of being busy is a common plight of capitalist, middle class, Western culture. And I know it’s not going away anytime soon. What I’m more interested in is how few practices I have for navigating it. The tools I have are insufficient to the task. Several weeks ago Meck remarked that she couldn’t think her way out of busy, and I have been reflecting on that reality ever since.
I know I can’t have anything else on my calendar. I even type “HOLD” in all caps across some days, and yet, I still schedule things onto them.
I know this pace of life does not serve me and is not the rhythm I want my heart to be calibrated to, and yet, I keep scrambling to try to keep up.
I know that busy is the spiritual challenge of our time. Succumbing to it is counter to my values, and it distracts or deters me from the ways of being that feed my soul and spirit.
And yet, knowing these things is not enough. Simply noticing is not enough. I am powerless over busy.
I can tell I do not love well like this. Or sleep well. Or see the vibrancy of colors and life as Spring arrives. Everything is dimmed and blurry and without much attention or intention. Busyness, as Omid Safi writes, is the thief of intimacy.
So far, my only hunch about strategies is that we cannot shift this overwhelmed way of life by ourselves. It is together that we must disengage from what is “not right about how we are living.” I’m going to stay on the lookout for those who know how to make space for exercise and long walks and art and tech sabbaths. For now, I am just praying these words from Oriah Mountain Dreamer, over and over again, every time I look up to remember:
“This is the reality we live: aspiring to be at our best, longing for and sometimes finding meaning and connection within ourselves and with that which is larger than ourselves, we are undone by messy bathrooms, traffic jams, and burnt toast. I am not interested in spirituality that cannot encompass my humanness. Because beneath the small daily trials are harder paradoxes, things the mind cannot reconcile but the heart must hold if we are to live fully: profound tiredness and radical hope; shattered beliefs and relentless faith; the seemingly contradictory longings for personal freedom and a deep commitment to others, for solitude and intimacy, for the ability to simply be with the world and the need to change what we know is not right about how we are living.”
“Longings…for the ability to simply be with the world and the need to change what we know is not right about how we are living.” Amen.
image credit: top – Ramil Sagum “Speed”