The Industrious Bee

We are industrious little bees, in constant motion, moving about as if the world will end without our continuous flutter. Sometimes, it seems as if we flit and float about for no apparent reason. Sometimes it feels as if we are busy just for the sake of being busy.

Busy is a crown upon our heads, a medal of honor, a golden plaque given to us by society, a term for those deemed worthy.

But as Socrates says, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” Because it is often when we are the busiest that we feel the emptiest.

I think we use ‘busy’ to keep us from life, from friends and family, and from ourselves. I think we use ‘busy’ to hide behind things we don’t want to face. I think that’s what I used to do. But I no longer want to.

Busy was in the stuff I owned, the extra clothes I needed to rearrange in order to fit my other clothes in my drawers, the knick-knacks I had to dust, the craft stuff I needed to sort through. Busy was in my life. But now, much of my stuff is gone, and I can no longer hide behind it, I can no longer be ‘busy,’ for the sake of being busy, for the ease of escaping life. And I no longer want to.

We all have a catalyst that drives us to busy, something that removes us from what really matters. Too often, we are busy being busy. But as Henry David Thoreau says, “What are we busy about?”

I ask you – What are you busy about?

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Addicted to Busy

The Busy Addict

I am addicted to busy. I say it like it’s a badge of honor bestowed upon me by society, a gift placed in my hand, a trophy upon my mantel. Our society tells us we should be busy, because if we aren’t, we are nobody. It’s as if to be in a constant rush determines the value of our lives upon this earth. How sad is that?

Is our existence really dependent on the amount of activities we are engaged in? Is our worth determined by the number of clubs we, and our children, belong to? I don’t think so.

Life is, at times, hectic, there’s no denying that. We work, prepare meals, launder clothing, and maintain homes. We drive children to every activity from soccer and dance, to plays and concerts. We are involved in church groups, community events, and volunteer functions. To top it off, we add every social media button to our computers, and involve ourselves in any Facebook group that slightly resembles something we are interested in. In other words, busy is often of our own accord.

I try to stay away from busy, because, quite honestly, I get tired. But as much as I try, my days are often filled with endless activities, projects and classes I have added to my calendar, until my days bleed with only a sheer reminder of what life was meant to be.

I don’t think we are supposed to be in constant motion, any more than I believe we were intended to sit dipping our toes in a cool stream all day (though there is nothing I would love more). There must be a balance. There must be a way to rid ourselves of this obsession we have to race against the hands of time.

 

The Power of NO

I think there is something we can do. It requires nothing more than breathing one simple word.

NO.

One word that will set you free.

I often have to be reminded of this.

When my children were young, I was asked to volunteer for umpteen activities, including church picnics and school fairs I didn’t even want to attend. I know I was asked because I could be counted on, because I was a woman who couldn’t say ‘no.’

It wasn’t only volunteering that got me in trouble with my time, it was my own family. I did everything for them, baking cookies late into the night, staying up late to help with projects, and signing my children up for so many sports one summer, I didn’t even have a chance to watch them play.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against these things. Volunteering is fantastic. In fact, it’s a necessity. I believe we were placed on this earth to help one another. I believe we should give our time, when we can.

I also believe children should be involved in activities outside school. It’s what helps them grow and discover who they are.

As for our families, it’s hard to say no when you are asked to bake something special or help with a school project.

But the problem is, at some point, we break. No matter what color your cape, or how much coffee you drink, you can never do it all.

And that’s okay. You weren’t meant to.

A wise friend once told me, when you say yes to everything, you may very well be taking away someone else’s blessing, someone who has a heart for the school play, a passion for the church concert.

Your family will live without fresh cookies this week. The school and church will find another volunteer. Your children don’t need to be involved in two, or three, sports at one time. It’s okay to say no.

As for me, I am resolved to let one project go, and focus only on the necessity. My classes are down to one, not two. And my husband will survive without a freshly baked confection to have with his morning tea.

This week, once again, I learn the power of ‘no.’ Will you join me?

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