Monday, July 26, 2010

On a state of almost indescribable busy-ness


When people ask me, "How are you?" I am more and more inclined to include this truthful phrase in my answer: "I am almost indescribably busy."

Playing witness to myself, let me observe what I am doing here - and was doing long before I became fully aware I was doing it.

Since I am a writer and love to play with words, I cannot truthfully state that I am unable to describe how busy I am. I might say, that on my "day off" today, after leading three back-to-back workshops right after doing the Coast to Coast AM radio show live from 3-5 AM on Friday, I am:

- writing and editing a book that I must deliver before the end of August
- walking the dog
- working actively towards publication of two new works of fiction
- arranging publication of my first collection of poetry
- paying bills
- writing 4 articles for my two blogs (this one and my Dream Gates blog at Beliefnet)
- journaling
- buying groceries
- bringing myself back up to speed on my e-course for Spirituality & Health which has a global interactive forum that never sleeps
- playing travel agent and conference planner and hotel reservations clerk for several upcoming trips and programs
- fielding a few hundred email and FB messages
- doing my Synchronicity Walk, when I gather pop-up symbols and messages from the world around me
- reading several books at once
- having 8-9 conversations with the builders who are working on new steps for my house
- doing online research
- making sure I have at least one good deep uninterrupted conversation with my brilliant. deep-thinking daughter who is home for the summer
- getting ready to lead future seminars and trainings that sometimes require me to spend 12-14 contact hours a day with my students

ENOUGH!

The point is that once you start making an inventory of your busy-ness, you give up time and energy and can succeed in laying yourself and your unfortunate listeners flat. .

I will probably never inflict a list of this kind on myself, let alone readers or listeners, again.

Which leads me back to the virtue of being almost indescribably busy.

On any day but this - when I am breaking my general rule to deliver a cautionary tale - I could always tell you in how many ways I am busy, but I won't do it.

Haven't you noticed how people who aren't doing all that much can never seem to find time or energy to do just one thing more? By contrast, people who are truly busy can always manage to do one thing more - as long as they don't slow down to tell you how busy they are...

23 comments:

Worldbridger said...

Sounds like the technosphere has you well and truly in its grasp.

Don said...

Robert ~~ It has been my observation that those who have nothing much to do are often not very happy. I have known people who died, bored, shortly after retirement. One whom I knew well made excellent financial preparations for retirement. There were all kinds of things he could have done, but evidently nothing he wanted to do. Within a year he committed suicide.

I agree that it is important to keep busy. But it is also important to do things that have value to you. I gather that is what you do.

I retired over 18 years ago, on April 1, 1992, and have never been busier. It gave me more time to do what I valued doing. Now in my 80’s, I still love retirement.

Here are two little ditties that I wrote a few years ago:

CONTENTMENT

One who wants nothing
is not really content.
His life can be a bore.

Without a purpose
or even a goal,
what is living for?


And here is a haiku ----

Living forever
but not in each moment?
What is the point?

Robert Moss said...

Don - I like your attitude and the little poems that support it. You know my attitude towards retirement from my recent post "Wrong Plane, Right Conversation." I must add that I am entirely of retirement in its prosaic sense - of leaving a job that is less than THE work.

Robert Moss said...

Worldbridger - Perhaps it's the other way round.

Justin Patrick Moore said...

My Dad always told me this quote, "If you want something to get done give it to a man who is already busy." I don't know where the phrase came from originally. Over the years I've taken in to heart, and it turns out I'm that busy man.

Recently I've added studying for my Amateur Radio license to "the list", among helping to kickstart a new library music program, my own radio show, my own fledgling record label, etc. And now I see you have a new online course starting up...

The good thing is that it is all a lot of fun. My only question is: Do you employ any techniques or practices to prevent the feeling of "being spread to thin" or is it all a matter of attitude?

Robert Moss said...

Justin - I like your dad's quote & have often said the same thing. As for your question, attitude is (almost) everything in these matters, but there is something more important: the ability to call in energy beyond our usual level. This becomes easy when we stretch ourselves to the limit, take risks, and give our best to THE work, because that draws the support of larger forces.

Mariposa said...

The words quoted by Justin "If you want something to get done give it to a man who is already busy." have often been said to me as someone asks me to do one more task. I am honored that I am trusted to get the work done (and I will do it well). I am sometimes irritated that I am asked to do more. I know that what I really need to do is say, "My plate is full." I'm working on that. In fact, one sweet friend gave me words to practice and use: "My plate is so full that it's a platter, and it's overflowing." I have used it some. I am never bored and do not expect to be, but I do want time to just "be" - and not be squeezing in one more task. I am a professor - the teaching, advising, research, and service are never done!

Justin Patrick Moore said...

I like the idea that when we stretch ourselves to the limit we will attract larger forces that will come in to assist us. It heartens me for The Work.

By-the-way Robert, I'm excited to hear that you're poems will be coming out in print and am curious about what your other book due in August will be.

Robert Moss said...

Mariposa - I like your platter-patter.

And your screen name suggests you have the power to break out of any confining situation and flutter away where your spirit takes you.

Robert Moss said...

Justin - You'll just have to wait to learn more of the current book. I make a practice of not diverting energy from a project by talking about it overmuch until it's done, and would counsel any other book writer to do the same.

Robyn said...

I like the truth and humor in your post. Indescribably busy = "fully engaged". One of my favorite tools these days is a sharp pruner, to cut away what does not support central growth. The green world is teaching me that.

Robert Moss said...

Robyn - I like your message from the green world.

Justin Patrick Moore said...

I've come to be very superstitious about talking about any stories or essays I have at least a second draft done. Then I'll give them to my first readers for feedback. They are carefully selected themselves. Without this type of containment my writing can easily be derailed, so I know exactly what you mean: less talking, more writing...

Robert Moss said...

When I'm in the thick of writing a book, and it's going well, I'll read a few pages to a very close friend. That's quite different from merely "talking" about what is in process, which can dissipate the energy.

heidihowes said...

Dear Robert,

I don't know how you do it, but I am so grateful you do! I haven't commented much but want you to know that the activity of your two blogs has been extremely inspiring of late, and I am so glad that you are willing to share of yourself so freely given your many projects and activities! I am always checking to see what's new and it is wonderful. Thank you so much for being available to your audience. This list was fun to look at because I often wonder how the heck you do it!
Heidi

Robert Moss said...

Thanks, Heidi! As I said, I was reporting from an "off" day :-)

Mariposa said...

Hi Robert, Thanks for your comment about my screen name. Mariposa is integral to my being. Butterflies travel from North America to Mexico, so do I. And more. I am contemplating your comment about not talking too much about a book before it is finished -- sort of to protect or conserve the energies. I write law review articles - also major pieces, although not as long as a book. Application to myself -- I shall see.

Grace Looney said...

Hi Robert...

Such a merry chase of a life! It's good to be in that spot...where you are speeding along being productive, even on a day off...

I usually catch myself listing in the wee hours of the morning when I'm doing my "Morning Pages" (Artist's Way practice that's stuck for a decade or more...) However, if I let them go there, I usually just sail through my schedule and don't miss anything...

I'm an automotive statistic and not working at the moment...busy changing careers...but I do find myself chatterring with the ladies who were laid off at the same time I was...and we always say...

"How on earth did I ever have time to 'work'?"

Life always seems to come at us full steam ahead...I think the task is to jump on board and enjoy!

Robert Moss said...

Grace - I agree with you about jumping on board when the engine of life is steaming ahead - though it's also helpful to get a glimpse of where the train is going (for which dream scouting is good). Did you read my essay on dream trains at my OTHER blog at beliefnet a few weeks back? http://blog.beliefnet.com/dreamgates/2010/07/dream-symbol---trains-and-tracks.html

Seashore said...

I feel that each individual may have their own relative hurriedness which may apply to their specific point in linear time...I feel an ebb and flow which may be stronger at certain points in my life than at other points...
I LOVE this photo...it seems as though the plane has an aura all its own which may comprise the energies of the passenger's within. Beautiful!
Margie

Robert Moss said...

Margie - I agree it's essential to go with the ebb and flow of one's energy and of life. The great trick is to move beyond "hurriedness" into the Zone, where time works differently and we always have all the time and energy we need.

Mariposa said...

Yes - getting into the zone/flow is what it is all about - getting out of Western concepts of time. Robert, I like your phrase "where time works differently and we always have all the time and energy we need." When I lose track of time, I know I am immersed in my passions whether in writing, teaching or other. As a teacher, I always tell my students at the start of the semester (and periodically thereafter), that I am not watching the clock. I tell them that they must alert me if I have come to the end of the session because I usually have no concept of the clock while we are learning together. In contrast, when I teach study abroad in Mexico (where the students are with me practically 24/7 - I teach two courses in an integrated flow and all are enrolled in both) I love the fact that I can say "it takes as long as it takes and we are together for the experience." No bells. No fixed deadlines. INstead, learning together. If a guest stays with us for longer than we planned on "clock time" we stay with it and enjoy the experience. I so wish all of teaching and learning could be that way. It is amazing how Mexican culture facilitates and welcomes that kind of approach to human interaction and learning. I think our entire educational system would be healthier if we could find ways to do that within the U.S. (And, hello to Grace. You know who I am, of course!)

Katie said...

- doing my Synchronicity Walk, when I gather pop-up symbols and messages from the world around me

I do this its great.I never knew what to call it/