Too busy


I have to admit that I'm slowly growing to detest the phrase "I'm so busy."  "Busy" is a relative term, and one I'm realizing it is not necessarily synonymous with success or significance or even high achievement. Busy is a state of mind, and for me . . . in the last year or so I've conscientiously worked to be less busy. The absence of busy-ness doesn't mean idleness. It just means less going on in my head (and sometimes, hopefully, on my calendar). I loved this short article about competence, and how our desire to prove ourselves is making us miserable.

"I have to be honest and and admit that saying 'no' does not come easily to me. It feels far easier to blame my time- and life-management issues on 'The Curse of Competence' than it does to think of this as a situation I have created for myself. As I have reflected on this over the last few days, it has occurred to me that I might be under some other spells. I could be afflicted with 'The Curse of Wanting to be Liked,' 'The Curse of Wanting to Tackle Things That Seem Impossible,' 'The Curse of Finding Everything Interesting,' or even 'The Curse of Thinking I Am Uniquely Qualified to Save the Day.'"

I've been wondering about what "spells" I'm personally afflicted with. Maybe "The Curse of Desiring Perfection," or "The Curse of Pinterest," or "The Curse of Needing to Control Everything (which means delegating nothing)."

What about you? Any spells that are unnecessarily filling up your days?

This NYT article, "The Busy Trap," is an oldie but a goodie.

Looking up

Hello! I'm waving to you from the wintry north, happily hunkered down with our little family in a cabin in the woods--which completely makes up for all the flight delays (including one particularly deflating 24-hour delay) on our journey here. And I ran into my brother Chris in the LA airport of all places! Neither of us knew the other was traveling that day...such a happy serendipity.

Anyway, here we are. We have been making the rounds--catching up with family, unpacking, stocking up, and doing holiday things. No Christmas tree yet, no decorations, and a significant amount of shopping still to be achieved. In the midst of that bustle, I was reminded of something I wrote a few years ago and decided to look it up and post it here, mostly to nudge myself to try to take a deep breath, relax the grip on the to-do lists, and enjoy it. 

Pieter Brueghel, The Census at Bethlehem

Pieter Brueghel, The Census at Bethlehem

See that woman in the middle?
The one alone
With the white hat and broom
Head down, sweeping
Or digging, maybe.
That has been me.
Focused on the depth of snow in front of me
And my need to dig out.

To the boisterous gathering over there
And to the snow-stuck wagon behind me,
Where my broom could be put to better use.
Unaware of the simple miracle
Of a young woman on a horse,
Almost hidden by winter clothing
And seeking a place,
The holy significance lost in favor of
Bristles and snow.

I’m putting down the broom
And looking up.
Join me?

. . .

It’s easy to get caught up in the “doingness” of the season. What are your traps that prevent you from experiencing what Christmas has to offer? Is there a certain work of art, literature, or music that is especially speaking to you this season?