If you are too busy to read this, please read this

I get it, I really do. Life these days is Busy. There’s work, and family, and jobs to do, and bills to pay, and people to keep in touch with, and…and…and…the list goes on.

I had a week of annual leave and a list of things I wanted/needed to do. I wasn’t going away anywhere so, in theory, there was plenty of time to get things done. What I hadn’t bargained on was an even deeper need. A need to do Nothing.

I sat in a chair and gazed out the window. A robin landed on the fence. Then a young blackbird hopped onto the lawn. The clouds gathered and dissipated. The leaves danced on a gentle breeze. I watched a butterfly flitting around. My breathing slowed. My body relaxed.

I went for a walk.

I sat with a cup of tea.

Why is it that such simple things can seem like such a luxury?

At first I felt lazy and self-indulgent.

I felt I *should* be doing something. Anything. I had a to-do list for heaven’s sake. Those tasks weren’t going to do themselves.

I sat. And I watched the world go by.

And I realised:

These days we wear ‘being busy’ like a badge of honour. “I’m so busy,” we say when someone asks how we are. “I’m too busy,” we reply when offered an invitation.

What happens when you let go of ‘being busy’? What happens when you do nothing?

What happened for me was this:

The chores waited another day.

I relaxed and recharged.

I remembered to pay attention to life passing and to consider how I want to spend each of my precious days – rather than always doing what I feel obliged to do.

I checked in with myself.

I found out that the answer to the question “how are you?” didn’t need to be “I’m so busy”. I found out the real answer to that question was: “I’m tired, I need to rest, I need to spend some time in nature, I need to care for myself, I need to release all those ‘shoulds’ and just be for a while.”

I was reminded of a song and I laughed at the lyrics*. And I thought to tell you:

If not being busy sounds too hard, you could always try being ‘busy doing nothing’.

*The lyrics (c) Paramount Pictures

I have to watch the river
To see that it doesn’t stop
And stick around the rosebuds
So they’ll know when to pop
And keep the crickets cheerful
They’re really a solemn bunch
Hustle, bustle
And only an hour for lunch

I have to wake the Sun up
He’s liable to sleep all day
And then inspect the rainbows
So they’ll be bright and gay
I must rehearse the songbirds
To see that they sing in key
Hustle, bustle
And never a moment free

photo credit: Lyz Scarr-Quin

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