This morning’s meditation was on Busyness. So often people tell me when I’m not on my game to “stay busy”. It is part of our culture to avoid our emotions by staying busy as if there is some end game to just get through life instead of really experiencing it. If we suffer a loss or are afraid or are feeling anything but joy, our culture says to have a drink, get a hobby, help someone else or get busy.
Busyness makes me miss the sweet spot of life. I miss the sunsets. I miss the wildflowers along the way. A walk becomes exercise, or it’s meaningless. A relaxing time in the morning when I can reflect on the day before to see where I’ve harmed a relationship or accomplished something gets passed by for a mundane task like writing a “to do” list. The larger needs of my soul get pushed aside for the shorter-term tasks of getting through life. My ability to grow and reflect and connect with God gets short-changed or worse yet, an item to check off my list.
Oprah does a video every week on the Weight Watchers site, and a couple of weeks ago, she posted a talk on “The Truth Will Set You Free“. When I eat healthier and limit myself to healthier foods and a lesser quantity, I am no longer able to distract myself from my emotions with food. I notice how often I want to dampen my emotions of boredom and loneliness by eating. With no salve to dampen my negative moods, the emotions pulse louder and much more uncomfortably. At times, it feels like they are screaming through my veins unabated.
Most of us with weight issues use food to numb emotions. As we work through our food issues, we understand that we are going to have to deal with our emotions in a different, more direct way. People start losing weight and all of a sudden they address their alcohol addiction. They get a healthier lifestyle, and they change jobs … get a divorce … start setting boundaries … the list is endless. Some people get busy, but if they don’t get busy with what they need, it just becomes another distraction.
Oprah urged us to think about what we are really hungry for. It has nothing to do with food. Am I hungry for more downtime and rest? Am I tired? Am I hungry for more meaningful connection? Am I lonely even in the circles of friends that I have? Am I hungry for a creative outlet? Am I hungry for more passion in my life? Am I hungry for a deeper spiritual connection? What is it that I’m really hungering after? I should do that.
I’m hungry for several things right now in my life. I’m hungry for learning. I want to take a class and learn something new. I’m thinking of taking a writing class on writing short stories. I’m hungry for new challenges at work, and, thankfully, my current job is providing that. I’m also hungry for more beauty in my life – scenery, the simple beauty of a sunset, the beauty of a budding friendship and the beauty of the seasons as they walk through my life. When I think of these things, M&Ms seem so dull and short-lived in comparison. When I think of these things, they are so much more life-giving than spending 5 minutes eating something that will only make me feel bad.
It’s a beautiful time of year here in Michigan. We had our first two back-to-back 80 degree days. The sun is beaming in the window, Bella is curled up on my lap, and Ashok is quietly snoring next to me. Gregorian chants sing from my Bose player. A candle flickers on my altar. Overnight oatmeal with Greek yogurt and local Michigan fruit sits waiting on my counter to nourish me for the morning. It’s going to be a beautiful day, and I am thankful that I don’t feel guilty for enjoying this quiet time because I’m not “busy”. Life is good.