The Total Incompatibility of Mindfulness and Busyness
Regardless of how centered and present you try to be, overloading your schedule is a way of being unfaithful to yourself
“To commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to the violence of modern times.”
“I’m keeping myself busy.” Lots of retired people say this kind of thing, probably to reassure themselves and others that they are not at loose ends and drifting into oblivion just because they aren’t going to work every day or receiving a paycheck.
One day I heard these words coming up from some deep crevice in my own mind, and before I could stop them, they went right into the telephone.
“Wait a minute,” I wanted to cry out. “What am I saying, and who the hell is saying this?” I am not keeping myself busy. If anything, I am attempting to keep myself unbusy and finding that to be something of a full-time job. I moved away from pathological levels of busyness and doing, only to discover that it is not so easy to demur to either the outer or inner occasions that seem so attractive, so necessary, so important, so reasonable, and so containable — each considered separately — and yet always wind up absorbing more energy than anticipated, making it difficult, if not impossible, to linger in the beauty of being in one place for months at a stretch and living with a sustainable balance between right inward and right outward measure.
Saying yes to more things than we can actually manage to be present for with integrity and ease of being is, in effect, saying no to all those things and people and places we have already said yes to.
When we set things up to make any real balance in our lives a virtual impossibility, we are evincing disloyalty to what we value most.
Why is that? Precisely because if we are overloaded to the point of being overwhelmed, it is likely that we will be so agitated, so distraught, so self-preoccupied that we won’t be able…