Sunday, April 15, 2012

Busy V Full

Dallas, TX
"I know you are busier than busy," the student/friend/comadre wrote to me in an email. She was seeking some feedback on an idea she had - an offshoot inspired by my Contemplative Writing courses. A combination of a request/approval/looking for insight/feedback/brainstorming session. I was excited to read it, but then it fell into the "mid-range priority" pile - things I am interested in but that don't have a deadline. If it's not a fire, I am likely to not try and put it out.

But I'm not busy, actually. I am full.

I learned this from a different student a few years ago. When she sent me an email saying she was taking off a session - lots going on in her life - I emailed back and said I totally understood simply being busy. She responded that she is beginning to practice saying - and practice BEING - FULL instead of BUSY. What this meant to her is that she was taking time for self care, time to relax, time to simply be. That means she could truly digest all the things of interest in her life. It also means, like being busy looks on the surface, that she "doesn't get it all done." Only the reason is ever so slightly different.

Embracing that my life is full, but less and less "busy" with things that clutter my mental and emotional and schedule space, has been a long process. It is easy, in comparison to prioritizing. Prioritizing is it's own issue, and one that, on a deep level, is set by simply figuring out how to be full instead of being busy.

But prioritizing doesn't help me sort out the more minute details - do I respond to one of numerous cool projects or do I schedule for London for a program that is nine months out, or for Florida for a program that is two months out? Do I work on a memoir, an essay, or a blog, or do I sit and watch the tulips grow or pet the cats or both? Do I do yoga or meditate?

These are privileged choices. Partly I have worked hard to block out the "business" from my life, to make boundaries that being self-employed can make it hard to make. But the fact that I can even do what I love for a living, and take the space and time to make my life full instead of busy is, in itself, a rarity.

Or is it?

As soon as I wrote that phrase I realized - I am apologizing for doing this. When in fact, I suspect that a large number of people who complain about being busy have more choice than they think - than we think - than you think - they/we/you do.

Another paradox worth contemplating. In the meantime, I am off to listen to the wind blow.


  1. Mujer thank you for being you. I'm glad to hear you are caring for you. I speak for myself, but I we (your students) all love you and only want you to care for you! So you continue to be best teacher out there! Gracias!

  2. I really appreciate this post. It's so hard to (continually) remember that there is a balance, which is constantly shifting and changing.

    Thank you, as always, for the thoughtful posts. As always, they have been lovely.