On Being Busy

Yesterday I ended up being in six meetings (if you include a scheduled phone call that lasted well over half an hour). The first two were probably OK but I realised that even during them I was thinking about what I needed to do next. By the sixth I was hungry, tired and drained and heard myself moaning and grumping to anyone who would listen. (Grumping is not a word but it should be.)

The first meeting was about prayer, how to pray in an interfaith centre. I arrived with my phone and my notebook. No-one else did and I clearly didn’t need them. I realised them I carry them everywhere as a badge of busy-ness because being busy means you are connected and connected means important and in demand.

So even talking about busy is showing off. I think it is an addiction – as is my over-attachment to my phone – and needs discipline for a while so it stops being a habit. So I have some new rules. One day a week with no meetings and no more than three meetings a day. Meanwhile it is time again for my favourite quote from Thomas Merton – I think need to wear this round my neck or perhaps I should stick it over my phone/diary/calendar.

“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 a 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 their own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of their own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

So please don’t be offended if I say ‘no’. I might just be developing my inner capacity for peace…or I might have a more important meeting to go to!!