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Upstate New York

Most people are busy. That's what we say to each other. 

"Hey, Fred, how are things? Are you keeping busy," asks Barney.

"Yep, looking forward to a break," says Fred.

And they pass each other thinking that that is good, normal, and productive. Keeping busy has become an expectation. We expect to be pulled in different directions and we expect others to also go from one activity to the next. And we hardly give such things a second thought.

But busyness is not a sign of good work or productivity. Busyness, in fact, may be a form of lazyness. It may be a way to avoid setting priorities and it may be a way to numb out and it may be something that is simply not good.

Traveling recently to upstate New York to get away, I found a sense of rhythm again. Unforced and unrehearsed. And guess what? I was still productive. I still managed to get some things done.

The soul crushing disappointment of job dissatisfaction and workplace stress in today's world is a fascinating topic to me because it's all done by choice. Sure, some people have reinterpreted freedom as lifestyle, liberty from anything I disagree with, and the pursuit of my happiness instead of the original life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--which were rights endowed by a creator.

 The funny thing--creation operates in a sort of rhythmic pattern where the sun rises and the sun sets. The tides come in and out. The winds blow as they will, but travel rather predictable directions. And we call this organic and natural and life-giving stuff. 

Perhaps, the key to fighting busyness isn't a method or a management tool, but it may just be the awareness that we are part of a created order that has purpose and design. We may need to simply take a deep breath, look at the sunset, and realize that we're more like the gentle rain, than we are the frantic traffic jam. We're more like the sand on the beach, than we are iphone calendars and text alerts. We are works of art called to produce works of art. And today, you may need to remember that. 


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As a University director of study abroad in Central Texas, ideas and stories matter. These reflections are for pilgrims making progress.