The ‘give up busyness for Lent’ idea see http://www.notbusy.co.uk is developing a distinctive flavour: yeast extract, or, to be more precise, ‘Marmite’. Some people love it, others don’t like it at all.
I was in Mirfield near Leeds yesterday leading a day on forgiveness. The organisers asked me to bring some books for a stall. Interestingly the Beyond Busyness books sold out first and quite a number of people started wearing the wristband. They ‘got’ it immediately.
On the other hand I gave an interview to BBC Radio Newcastle this morning and the interviewer was not particularly convinced. ‘If people aren’t busy they don’t get things done’ was the gist of it. He felt it unfair that I should be encouraging people with responsibilities not to be busy enough to do them.
There is another critical line which is developing too. That to present oneself as ‘not busy’ is actually to boast about one’s super self-management abilities. To confess to being busy is at least honest and (or so I assume the argument goes) a good way of bonding with all the other busy people around us, rather than adopting an aloof attitude or sense of spiritual superiority.
These responses have caused me to reflect. ‘Is this really a bad idea?’ ‘Is the project of giving up busyness a way of distracting people from the encounter with the real-ness of reality that is the foundation stone of all true spirituality?’
Well, I am not convinced it is, though I can see that different words impact differently on different people. And I am aware that sometimes the word ‘busy’ is a necessary reality and a good word.
In my ebook Beyond Busyness: Time Wisdom in an Hour* I distinguish between ‘old busy’ and ‘new busy’. The following table is a summary.
|Old Busy||New Busy|
|Fuelled by the unexpected||Driven by the unmanageable|
|Exciting adrenalin rush||Exhausting adrenalin overload|
|One of those things||A source of pride, identity even|
|A genuine explanation given with regret and sincere apology||A ready-made excuse for not doing the things you don’t want to do|
|Could be minimised by better time-management||Aggravated by time-management|
|Product of events||Product of attitude|
Spelt out in longhand ‘I’M NOT BUSY’ means ‘I’m making a conscious effort to monitor my own busyness and to avoid slipping from old (good) busy into new (toxic) busy’.
Whether spelling this out will persuade anyone that they like the Marmite of ‘NOTBUSY’ remains to be seen. But I can see that without the old busy/new busy distinction the idea of giving up busyness can seem like irresponsibility and laziness.
On Friday I gave an interview to Mike Hill of Radio Tees which gave me space to explain the ideas reasonably coherently. It was broadcast today and you can hear it here. It’s about 4 minutes long and starts 2.27.40. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p014p6p8
* The ebook Beyond Busyness: Time Wisdom in an Hour is available in a number of formats.
- Kindle: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BDZQBFO?tag=sacristy-21
- Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=9781908381637
- iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/isbn9781908381637
- Nook: Coming soon!