Part 1: Problem of Being Stuck in Life–Busyness, Urgency and Routine
Just getting through a busy day is tough enough now days. Then finding the energy or time to reflect on where you are long-term in meeting personal, family, career, financial and health goals seems almost impossible to track.
Staying on purpose and finding fulfillment when facing urgent requests, busy routines of children, work and family life is not easy. Our daily routine often lacks a sense of purpose because we don’t take time to examine and work on the important but not urgent things. The urgent and unimportant can bury us with their urgency and stress demands. For most of us this kind of routine appears to serve no apparent end. We work very hard to keep our head above water. We get trapped by doing…doing…and more doing and still remain “stuck”.
Only when we are faced with a significant emotional event (death or sickness in the family, loss of job or unfaithfulness) or health crisis (heart attack, cancer diagnosis etc.) do we stop and examine our routines and systems to see where we are now and where and how we want to go forward living our life.
The critical question becomes can we be pro-active and prevent this type of self-fulfilling crisis cycle? Can we learn to live more on purpose and with intention? Or because we are humans this is our fate in living in this post-modern world?
The Problem: Busyness, Urgency and Routines
Often when I reflect upon the necessity for reflection in my workshops, I get the response, “Who has the time? I’m too busy!” or “This is silly exercise” These type of responses are precisely the problem. Busyness, Urgency and Stress —always going somewhere, never being anywhere and feeling stressed while doing these things—limits our awareness of what is happening in life as we move almost like “zombies” from one activity to the next, as I like to call it sleep walking through life”.
Most research focuses on why the technological changes and gadgets that are designed to connect us also seem to impact our ability to concentrate and in reality disconnect us from our face to face interactions. You could go so far to say that isolation rather than connecting is the result of our post-modern world of technology. E-mail, voicemail, instant messaging, cell phone, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, and of course the World Wide Web all serve useful roles. But these tools for constant connecting also lead to tuning- out the person and “ purposeful moments withe person sitting right in front of us. Physical and face to face connections are replaced by impersonal and powerful technology drones.
These new communication devices eat up valuable and reduce more positive “recovery-time” activities, such as reflection, play, and “deep conversations.” The unintended result is that many people feel trapped, tired and stressed as they go through day-to-day living.
Stay tune to Part 2 of “sleep walking” when I will talk about some deliberative practices and solutions for this growing problem of dis-connection.