Too Busy, Too Fast, Too Many, Too Much…

“There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist… most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by the multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist…destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of one’s own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

Thomas Merton

This speaks to folks like me and many of those I am friends with, people who express themselves and show love and integrity by giving of themselves to the point of being violent! We truly care, we have strong beliefs and values that we are willing to stand up for…. but we can get carried away.

I’m learning and being mindful of this on a daily basis. This doesn’t stop my activism, or giving of myself. I am just more mindful of my intentions, maintaining perspective, and trying to constantly clarify for myself why I do what I do and for whom I am doing it. This has helped me be more honest, truly loving and more free… and the process continues.

In what area of your life do you tend not to be in sync with yourself and a sense of being purposeful?

When does that sense of “too much”, “too frustrated”, “or “too tired” visit you?

When do you find yourself complaining, judging others, losing that feeling of peace?

Pause: Take a moment for a few mindful breaths.

See if you can connect with a need you may have, something that keeps you going constantly. Acknowledge that need in a caring way, really noticing it, giving it the time it needs.

Perhaps you hold a belief that propels you forward compulsively. Let it be witnessed in a non- judgmental way. It could be a conditioned response to what you learned from your parents, teachers or culture. Know that you can hold on to its noble essence and let go of the conditioned drive that accompanies it.

Just being kind and mindful to what your busy-ness is really about may give it space to always be a choice. It is my hope that we will all learn how to give wisely and generously of ourselves: to ourselves and to others.

Do feel free to share your reflections with me.

10 thoughts on “Too Busy, Too Fast, Too Many, Too Much…”

  1. Dear Jo,
    Too well do many of us know the effects of such violence- to ourselves and others in our lives. May we be more mindful, especially during this upcoming season. I’ll keep trying.

  2. Thanks to all who read my blog posts and join in on this journey of ours… to live more mindfully and freely! We cannnot do this alone and hence my joy of seeing us walking, often trudging and sometimes skipping ahead together. knowing that we are always affecting each other even when it doesn’t appear that way.

  3. “a belief that propels you forward compulsively.” I even have some beliefs which cause me to drag my feet sometimes. “I could be hurt, I could be embarrassed, I could fail, It won’t be any fun anyways!”
    Appreciating this community. 🙂

  4. Richard, yes, I know some of those too. It takes some ‘work’ to ‘uproot’ those beliefs, once I’ve realized their existence. We miss you here in Ann Arbor. It’s so good that we can stay connected even while you are in India!

  5. Wonderful post! Good to talk to you today Joya! I could definitely relate to Richard’s comment because I can swing either way, overcommitment or procrastination! I have a tendency to want to be helpful and never looked at it as a way of being violent towards myself or to others. Thanks for the new perspective!

    1. Sandy, being aware of our natural tendencies is already a triumph. Gentleness and truly loving ourselves really takes committment and support from like-minded travellers.

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