“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.”
It starts slowly. At first you don’t even notice it, and in a funny way, it actually feels good. You feel fulfilled, you feel valued, and let’s face it, you feel important.
I am busy!!! Busy, busy, busy!! Doing very important things. LOOK AT ME GOOOOOO…..
At first, you only wear your badge at work. But it’s so hard to take off darn it! So, you wear it home for dinner (no one will notice).
But the clasp somehow starts to pierce through your sleep and you wake up in the middle of the night with it on. Eventually, you wake up and busy is already shouting orders at you in the early morning. You start wearing the badge 24 hours a day.
Busy has become a way of life.
Then one day. All of sudden. Out of nowhere.
The bottom drops out. You get sick or a family member becomes ill, or you wake up one day and realize that you have hollowed out. The busy badge needs to be paid for and the cost is your inspiration and passion. You own the badge but you feel flat.
For me, it was a series of events that caused me to look at my badge a little closer.
Our family dog passed away and the badge felt I should get busy right away. But I just couldn’t.
My husband ran into serious health problems and I thought I might lose him. Busy badge was understanding, for a while. But it demanded I make up for the lost time. I felt guilt for needing to be away.
When I took the badge off to spend time with my dad for his 80th birthday, I felt the guilt of slowing down to be fully present in the moments of his life. Yet, I also felt the incredible guilt of all the lost moments. The moments I had spent polishing my badge. The moments I had spent admiring its brilliance.
But still. I felt the badge was worth it. Sure it was a bit tarnished, but it is a great badge to have!!
I fell down the stairs rushing to work one day. “I have to get to work NOW!!”
My phone was in one hand and my coffee cup in the other (because coffee helps you wear that shiny badge ALL day). I rode my left side down the stairs because I was no longer in the moment. I was too busy thinking of all things I needed to do that day.
Busted. I was busted. Wide open. And it hurt. Not just my shoulder, but my heart and how I fallen for this false prophet. Busier wouldn’t make me happier, healthier, or more loved. Busy had asked me to disconnect from myself and from those I loved. I had complied.
I wish I had an easy fix answer. For me, it was riding on my left side down the stairs in the service of speed. Since then I have had some small personal epiphanies. I share these here for what they are worth:
- Savor the small wonders of each day – It might be the sunrise as you drive to work, or lighting candles for dinner, or watching your kids play. Look for and find those small moments of absolute wonder. Make note, savour, and soak these up. These moments matter.
- Really listen – When someone speaks, let your heart crack open and be in the moment with them and for them. What are they saying? What is their perspective? What do they need in this moment? Are you there for them or are you there for yourself?
- Find a space you feel free – Notice where and when you feel outside of the domain of busy. For me it is outside. Whether it is walking or snowshoeing, I feel no pressure from busy when I am out in nature. Find this place and go there regularly.
- Cultivate an inner life – Spend time reading, writing, thinking, and contemplating. Develop your inner life as you might cultivate a garden.
- Notice yourself – After I fell down the stairs, I went for many chiropractor and massage appointments. These moments forced me to realize I had previously ignored myself. Stop every once in a while to notice how you are feeling. Are you clenching your jaw, are your shoulders up in your ears, are you breathing deeply?
What are you going to do with your one precious life?