This meme has been circulating the internet. I saw it and had an immediate visceral reaction.
“Are you calling me stupid?” I sneered to my screen.
The thing is, everybody’s busy. I used to say that to my violin students when they would make excuses for not practicing. We’re all busy. Even if you’re unemployed for a time, even if you’re retired, the days get filled with DOING STUFF.
We do a lot of stuff.
Yes, I’m busy. I go through my days accomplishing so many tasks that it makes my own head spin, let alone anyone else’s.
So how does one just BE? For me, having time to simply exist is the way I empty my mind, or download energy, or recharge, or however you like to express the art of doing nothing.
La dolce far niente.
I LOOOOOOOOVE doing nothing. I love having nothing to do…but not for long. It needs to be just long enough to give me energy enough for the next day or task, but not too long that it makes me start feeling depressed. This is usually one day max. More than one day, and I start to sink into a dark feeling of incompetence, laziness and procrastination. Why?
Because nothing is ever really done. Sure, I can tick things off my list, check them off, feel the satisfaction of a thing done, but guess what? Another one pops up. It’s dynamic, it’s never-ending. It’s the process of living, no matter what you are trying to accomplish.
And this is where “going with the flow” comes in. It sounds flaky. The flow, for me, is the process. The process of living, of doing things, of not doing things.
I recently attended a retreat for female entrepreneurs and was reminded of when I was still practicing as a nurse, and the shift would begin with a shortage of staff. Our patient load increased, and everyone knew it was going to be a really busy day. I learned, from nursing, that when I had a mountain of tasks ahead of me, being frantic and miserable was not going to help me nor the situation, and most importantly the patients. Similarly, if you’re practicing a passage of music, every musician knows that practicing it slowly is the key to getting to that Vivace. You can’t just play it over and over at a speed that isn’t under your fingers and expect progress. So what do I do? I go s-l-o-w-e-r. What, you say? That doesn’t make sense, you say.
*edit (and, I guess, I really learned that from music, and brought it to my nursing practice. that’s a sweet epiphany.)
It does, though. This is what happens when you go slower when you are super busy: you become present with every task that you do. Usually, it all gets done, and when it doesn’t, at least you’re not bringing frantic energy to it, making mistakes, and having to go back and correct them. You have the presence of mind to prioritize. You get it done. It’s almost like magic.
So, I’m going to change that meme to:
Frantic is the new stupid. Busy is good, and I like it.