January 12


Today's quotation:

I had finally reached a point where keeping up such a hectic pace no longer seemed worth it.  It occurred to me that we had, through long hours and a lot of hard work, achieved a modicum of success.  We had many of the trappings of the modern lifestyle, but we didn't have the time, and sometimes not even the energy to enjoy them.  And even worse, we had little time for each other, and practically no time for ourselves.

Elaine St. James

Today's Meditation:

Hurry, hurry, hurry--it seems to be the curse of our lives these days.  I have friends with whom I basically have to make an appointment if I ever want to get together with them.  They pull out their date books or appointment books to find out when they're "free."  Aren't we supposed to be always free?  Yes, it's important to work and to commit ourselves to causes, but when those causes overwhelm us and become the focal points of our worlds, it's time to re-evaluate.

Lists can help.  Sitting down and writing down the most important aspects of our lives can help us to see where we should be putting our time.  Most people would write down things like friends, family, self-improvement, reflection, volunteering for a worthy cause, work, etc.

But when that other list gets written--the list that tells us where we actually do spend our time--we often see the disparity between what we know to be good for us and our actual actions.  We may spend 90 minutes commuting and 15 minutes reading a good book.  We may spend two hours on the extra work we brought home and catch only the last half hour of our daughter's soccer game.  The things that we know to be good for us tend to get short shrift when we make our decisions on how to spend our time, and in the long run we end up sabotaging our opportunities for growth and development.

Sometimes I like sitting around doing nothing, or reading a book while I listen to relaxing music.  There's nothing wrong with that at all.  I balance it out by making sure that those things that absolutely have to be done (paying the bills, raking the yard) are done, and by not overextending myself by volunteering for every organization that asks me to spend my time working for them.  We have to pick and choose, and it's important that we choose those things that will help us to be better people, not just busy people.  For if we grow as human beings we can be much more helpful to the other people in our lives than we can if we just stay busy and never learn the lessons that life has to teach us through experience rather than busy-ness.

Questions to consider:

When do you feel overwhelmed?  What causes the feeling?

How do you prioritize your decisions concerning how you're going to spend your time?  How much of your current lifestyle is the result of your decisions?

What kinds of things would you do if you had time to do them?  Why don't you have the time to do them?  (Be honest!)

For further thought:

We are in such haste to be doing, to be writing, to be gathering gear, to make our voice audible a moment in the derisive silence of eternity, that we forget one thing, of which these are but the parts—namely, to live.  We fall in love, we drink hard, we run to and fro upon the earth like frightened sheep.  And now you are to ask yourself if, when all is done, you would not have been better to sit by the fire at home, and be happy thinking.  To sit still and contemplate . . . is this not to know both wisdom and virtue, and to dwell with happiness?

Robert Louis Stevenson

more thoughts and ideas on busyness



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