You’re Not Busy, You’re Living

Along with a lot of the leaders I am coaching, I am finding myself stretched these days. It’s good to be busy, and busy tips easily into overwhelmed. The usual remedies – delegate, say no, set good boundaries, time-management, disciplined focus – only go so far.

I turned to this lovely passage from The One Who is Not Busy by Darlene Cohen. She is talking about how our way of viewing our activity is itself a source of anxiety. We tend to sort our time into mental categories, like urgent/important, or trivial/consequential. These judgments chop up our lives and take us out of direct experience of it, and toward a feeling of being carried along, against our will.

Instead, Cohen describes trying for “simultaneous inclusion”.

“From an activity-flow point of view, every task we do is inherently valuable, just because we are doing it right now. If we’re totally intent on what we’re doing right now, and not half here because we’re preoccupied with something else, every movement, action and speech is an expression of our full being. We’re also not so concerned over whose time we’re on – the boss’s at work, the kid’s at home – resentful that we never seem to have our very own time…it’s all our own time.”

This way means not distinguishing and comparing activities, but instead being fully invested in whatever you are doing. It means when you are driving your kid to school, or sorting your socks, or filling a spreadsheet, you just do it. You don’t consider whether its boring, or unpleasant, or pleasant. You live your life in a constant flow of activity and step out of it when it is time to sleep.

Try this for a bit. Stop breaking your heart by calling what you do ordinary, mundane and not important. You have a choice, not just in what you do, but in how you view what you do. You can form a new perception of your reality.

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