Thursday, September 2, 2010

Addicted to Busy

Hi, my name is Catherine and I'm addicted to busy.

I don't mean to be facetious or make light of people's very real addictions. This may sound like a very light-weight addiction, but as I look around, I suspect it afflicts many, many, many people. I'm beginning to think that the consequences, if left unchecked, can be very painful and damaging.

Really, I've always suspected the control that busy-ness has had over me, but going on a holiday and returning last month allowed me to see things with fresh eyes.

When I got back to Alabama and got over my jet lag, I had to re-enter my life as I'd left it. I looked around and saw project upon project I could pick up where I'd left off. I just about revved up my energy and got busy. Changed my mind.

Something was causing me to squirm and feel uncomfortable with simply picking up where I'd left off. I felt uninspired to get crazy-busy again. I had no desire to fill my schedule and build a task list from here to the moon. I tried to get it all done quickly again, but the experience was unsatisfying and downright uncomfortable.

In a flash of insight I could see how my ever-loving quest to "get things done" was seriously affecting my life. My intense need to be productive was causing me to make bad decisions.... decisions that could affect the ones I love. I was putting task completion before joy, before health and before my children sometimes. Of course I could justify the busy-ness in most cases since I was working toward something that my family needed. Busy-ness is an admirable thing after all.

Then, to take the addiction concept further, I could see how I was using busy-ness to numb, deny and avoid. I was using tasks to keep cruising along maintaining the status quo so I didn't have to challenge, question or improve. This was a real a-ha moment for me. I really could see how I was just like an alcoholic with a drink or a gambler with a slot machine.

Also, I was relying on my "doing" to communicate my love for my children. Instead of telling them how much I enjoy them, I was cleaning their rooms. Instead of looking them in the eye and feeling the joy they bring me, I was preparing a meal.

What I know now is that they are seven and four and they need me to connect, communicate and play with them. (I knew this before, but now I really know it.) Similar to a food or sex addiction though, life will still include busy, so it becomes my responsibility to be wise and mature about how I allow busy-ness to enter my life. Lord let me be mature at 40.

The way for me to monitor my choices is to consider the idea of mindless busy-ness versus mindful busy-ness. Obviously, I am the one who has to cook breakfast, but now it becomes a matter of doing it because I love my children, I want them nourished and I am aware of them as I do the task. Before, it was about "get another thing out of the way" or "next, next, next....".

If any of this strikes a chord, please comment or email me directly - I need a Busy-acholics group.

Type rest of the post here


4 KKZ & V said...

Simply being aware is very Buddhist like.
I relate to your busy- ness.

Catherine said...

Impossible not to be "busy" with little ones, but hopefully I can readjust it a bit being mindful - all very zen - you're right Sarah!