Apparently, the Chinese pictograph for the word busy (at left) is composed of two different characters: heart and killing.
Which is nice.
Now, I’m not sure how this works in conversation.
“So, how’s it going?”
“Oh, you know. Killing my heart too much lately, and the monsoons are bumming me out, but I’m okay. You?”
But that definition feels appropriate. When I’m too busy (and I can’t remember not feeling too busy), something tender feels like it’s being destroyed and I’m not sure what to do about it.
There is a little book on my shelf that is revolutionary and dangerous. If people read it and applied it, it would crush our economy and fundamentally change the fabric of our culture.
It’s called Sabbath (written by Wayne Muller), and it’s all about reclaiming the freedom found in practicing rest and allowing the sun to rise and set without our work and constant creative energy. Muller talks about Sabbath not as a grueling day of boredom. He talks about creating regular space in your life to play and rest, to eat delicious foods, to pray, and to connect with the people you love. He also talks about it not just as one day a week, but moments in each day.
He writes about walking away from our addiction to busyness.
Everyone talks about being too busy and needing to slow down, but no one really does, mostly because we’re afraid what will happen if we do. Also, as Brene Brown writes, we wear busyness as a badge of honor. We’d be afraid of what people would say if we weren’t busy.
“Whatcha been up to lately?”
“You know, I have a lot of spare time. I’m taking a lot of naps. Catching up on Parks and Recreation.”
Insert eyebrow raise.
I’ve found that it’s easy to lament how busy I am, but also incredibly difficult to actually do something about it. I keep waiting for someone else to do something about it for me, but inside I know I’m the only person that can do anything about it.
Sabbath is something we can do about it. Sabbath most literally means to stop. I’m not great at the day of Sabbath, or even taking moments of Sabbath. But here are some ideas to stop the busyness and start enjoying moments and days of rest:
1. Bring a favorite book to work today and take a 20 minute break to read it (or bring your iPad and watch your favorite show on a break).
2. Plan a meal that you’ll share with your close friends and invite them to share Sabbath with you. If you don’t like cooking, plan to host a meal and have others bring the food!
3. Stop 2-3 times a day to write out — or just pray out loud – the things for which you’re grateful.
4. Ask your family: If we set aside a block of time just for fun and being together, what would we do?
What are your ideas for stopping, resting, and enjoying life and the people you love?