"I'm so busy! I just don't have the time." That seems to be what I hear the most these days (from myself included). We are all so busy... running around doing this and that and having even more things to do that we don't get around to... We spend our waking hours doing things on our list of "things to do" and not having (or taking) the time to do the things that would nurture our spirit and that would please us best.
I speak with a lot of people daily, and it seems like "not having enough time" is a recurring theme... So much that I had to stop and ask myself -- why are we all so busy? Now some of you may say, that's simple, to pay the bills. Well, in some instances that may be true, but even then, we are the ones who create the bills (or the reason for having the bills sent to us).
Why else are we busy? A lot of times it may simply be because we are caught up in a lifestyle of do, do, do. We are so busy doing this, going there, studying this, driving here, preparing this, finishing that... Always doing. And for what? Do we have a clock racing? In most cases we do, or we feel we do. Yet, why are we letting our lives be run by the clock?
Who's In Charge of Our Time?
We don't have a choice, you say? But aren't we the ones who create all the reasons to run around and then feel "overbusy" and stressed? The bottom line is that we always have a choice. You say you need two jobs to meet your bills? Perhaps you need to cut down on your "needs" if you must work two jobs to pay for them. Perhaps the 50" inch TV is not really a necessity, perhaps the new car (or second car) is not a necessity, perhaps wearing the latest fashion or hairdo is not a necessity, perhaps...
Maybe we need to look at how we spend our time and evaluate each of these things. We can ask ourselves why we are doing each thing and then reflect on whether the price we pay (running around like idiots with no time to enjoy life) is worth it. Are we letting "impressing the Jones" run our life? Are we working 16-hour days so we can keep up with the neighbors, so our kids can wear the latest fashion, or have the latest video game? Perhaps we would be happier working less hours and having more time to spend being with our children and our friends...
Are we working at a job we dislike because the money's better, while perhaps a lesser paying job would bring us more personal satisfaction and happiness?
Stop the World, I Wan't To Get Off
Is meeting the next deadline and the next and the next bringing us closer to happiness, or simply closer to being totally stressed out? Will the world stop if we don't meet the deadline? Or will the world simply go on, not even noticing that you were one hour, or one day, late on your self-imposed (or otherwise) deadline. Is working longer or sleeping less really a solution? Are those things not simply aggravating the problem?
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Are we simply caught up in the frenzy of this world where everything is "instant". Instant communication via email, fax, phone, texting, instant bank and stock market transactions via the internet, instant gratification promised by our advertising media? Perhaps it is time for us to say, "Stop the world. I want to get off."
Perhaps we all need to stop, even if just for a minute or two at a time, and ask ourselves if what we are doing right now will make any difference in ten years, or ten centuries? Is our busy-ness going to advance us on our path towards enlightenment, towards inner peace, towards becoming one with the All?
Are we simply caught up in "busy-ness" without having consciously made a choice as to whether or not this is how we want to live our life?
Taking Each Action Consciously
In the practice of mindfulness, we are reminded to take each action consciously. To eat consciously, to walk consciously, to do everything from a very "present" state of mind. Perhaps if we applied mindfulness to our life, we would not get caught up in so much busy-busy activities, but choose carefully where we apply our time.
After all, time is the one thing we cannot manufacture. We can make more food, more money, more appliances, even more people (hopefully not by manufacturing them), but we have only 24 hours in a day. We cannot have 30 hours in a day. However, we can choose how we apply those 24 hours that are given to us each and every single day.
Do we want to spend our 24 hours running around, constantly out of breath (figuratively or literally) because we have so much more to do? Or do we want to enjoy the moments those 24 hours bring us... After all, we don't know how many more hours we will have on this lovely planet.
Savoring Each Minute
It is a bit like being on vacation. When you are on vacation, you want to savor each minute, even if (especially if) those minutes are spent doing absolutely nothing except lay back and relax. Perhaps we need to look at this life as somewhat of a vacation... in the sense that we are here "visiting" on Planet Earth. We don't know for how long we will be here so maybe we should savor each minute of this "visit" on Earth...
When we are on vacation we enjoy the surrounding people, the beauty of nature, and the attractions of the locale we are visiting. Are we doing that during our time on Earth? Are we enjoying the people, the beauty of nature, and the attractions of the locale, or are we so busy "trying to make ends meet" and keeping up with our busy schedule to even pay attention to life?
Are we so busy we have forgotten to live and to enjoy the fact of simply being alive on this wondrous planet? Have we sold our soul in exchange for material comfort? Have we traded our enjoyment of life for the promise of future achievements and rewards?
Making Choices Consciously
These are hard questions, but we owe it to ourselves to ask them and see where we stand... and then live our lives mindfully... making choices consciously instead of simply on the automatic "go here, go there, do this, do that" that we often have found ourselves caught up in.
Let's stop the spinning of our busy-busy world, take stock of our lives and make some choices... If we had only one more day to live... would we keep doing what we are doing? Probably not. What about one week? What about one month? Then the question remains... Since we don't know how long we will be here, how do we want to spend our time?
Arriving at Your Own Door: 108 Lessons in Mindfulness
by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Messages of profound wisdom in a contemporary and practical form that can lead to both healing and transformation.
About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
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