You hear it everywhere.
“How are you?” “Busy!”
“Can you join us?” “Too busy!”
“Guess what happened today?” “Can’t you see I’m busy!”
Have you ever sat back and wondered what you do with all that busyness? Oh I know there are moments of accomplishments, those moments when we look at what we have done and feel proud. But they are only moments what about the rest of the time? We finish one thing, another pops up, and on and on, an endless flow of busyness.
As I moved my life away from busyness I noticed things. The first thing I noticed was denial. “No, it is not possible to be less busy. You don’t understand how important my work is. You don’t understand how important I am to the process. Things would fall apart if I didn’t do them. You don’t understand! It’s impossible! Several years of a chronic illness where I could barely navigate from one room to another and my brain basically shut down cured that one. (Not a path I’d recommend. There are easier ways!!!) Life went on, bills got paid, and as crushing as it was to my ego the world turned just fine without me at the helm.
So many people come to this realization through tragedy; a heart attack, the sudden death of a friend, a crisis. You hear people say on the news, in books, and those you know that have moved through a bout with a life threatening illness: “I wouldn’t give up what I learned through this experience. I woke up to what was important in life.” We wouldn’t give it up but there are easier ways to wake up.
The next thing I noticed was fear. What do I do if I am not busy? What is there to life that does not exist on my ‘to do’ list?” How do you just BE with yourself???
In my many years of coaching I find that this fear is common in most of us. Part of the fear is of the unknown, but a big part of it is often the underlying knowing that our busyness keeps us from facing our life. And that facing our life can be terrifying. We have questions we don’t want to look at as we’re sure we won’t like the answers, or that the answers will require something from us that we are not ready to give.
I love working with clients at this point. So many of us are there. These fears are like monsters under the bed. The longer we ignore them the bigger they grow. The relief of turning on the light and looking at them is incredible and it helps to have a partner. It’s only when we look at them that we can do something about them.
Once we get past our denial, sense of importance, our fears, our dark nights of turbulence, and slow down light begins to dawn. We begin to see clearly what we have been avoiding, and can take steps towards clearing away the debris, like on a beach the morning after a storm. As we sit quietly and look within not only questions come to the surface but answers as well. The sea of our life casts up both wreckage and treasures. As we get to know ourselves we find authenticity, integrity, passion, and the treasure of a lifetime – the person who we may have been missing from our lives for a long time – ourselves.
As you move forward:
- Look at your busyness.
- Find parts you will let go of.
- Schedule some quiet time.
- Ask yourself: “What does my busyness allow me to avoid?”
- “What am I choosing not to face by being busy?”
- “What am I willing to do about it?”
Or if you are really adventurous: Take time for quiet and let the busyness sort itself into what is left. Because when you experience what it really is to give time to the other parts of your life, to give time to looking at what is important, to give time to who you are – you’ll never go back.
I found it interesting that as I wrote this piece I kept trying to follow the rules of grammar and drop the “y” off “busy” and change it to an “i” to write “busyness.” The problem was every time I did I realized that what I had written was “business.” That piece of our lives we’ve allowed to take over…material perhaps for another newsletter…how fascinating!