Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Busy, Busy, Busy

"Arrayed in Splendor"
- blossoms in the wilderness -

For some reason almost every single person I talked with yesterday lamented over how busy they were - my wife, my friends, people I talked to online, even the cashier at the supermarket, everyone telling me they were all so "busy, busy, busy." 

Ever since yesterday I've been thinking about busyness. In one sense I suppose it's good to be busy and productive, getting stuff done; however, I think that unchecked busyness can also be quite an obstacle on a spiritual path.

It seems to me that some people wear their busyness as a "badge of honor" - "Look how busy I am, I must be pretty important." Busyness has a way of being one more tool in the toolbox that can be used for building up a big ego, and big egos are always a problem on the spiritual journey.

I also think that busyness often keeps us living on the surface. When our minds are constantly cluttered with tasks to be accomplished, we often miss the moment and tasks can easily get in the way of our relationships.  A spiritual path is focused on being present and mindful in the moment and the core goal of a spiritual journey is building relationships. 

So if we aren't careful our constant busyness can turn into a pretty serious roadblock on any spiritual path. 

I am reminded of one of my favorite poems by Mary Howe in which she describes a very busy day doing errands accompanied by her little girl:

We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store
and the gas station and the green market and
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry hurry,
as she runs along two or three steps behind me
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down

Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?
To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown?

Every time I read that poem I get a little teary-eyed thinking abut my own so-busy life, always on the run, rushing around, urging my own now-adult children to hurry, hurry. I wonder what I may have missed along the way?  

It rained the other day in the desert where I live, and whenever that happens I can be sure that a walk along a trail will reveal the stunning beauty of the desert gone to bloom, bursting with blossoms and spring wildflowers. 

As I walked a wilderness trail yesterday, drinking in the sights and smells of an early day in spring, I was thinking about all the busyness everyone seemed to be telling me about. Then I remembered something Jesus taught to his very busy disciples as they walked through a field blooming in the spring.  He told them to stop, look around and take in the moment: 

Look at how the wildflowers grow. 
They do not labor or spin.
Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was arrayed like one of these.

Socrates once said:
Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

In the midst of our lives that are all so busy, busy, busy - take a breath, look at how the wildflowers grow. 

Listen to my podcast: "Desert Wisdom"


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