Epidemic Levels

You’ve got back to back meetings, a new idea for a side hustle, and all types of new ideas.

You’re on fire!

Unfortunately, fires aren’t always sustainable. The best ones eventually fizzle out, and if they don’t get the right amount of oxygen and kindling, they become ashes.

I  found myself listening to Spotify and Publix commercial came on saying “You’re busy and that’s a good thing”………..

And to most people that is the common belief, but all I could think is “Hell no its not!”

The typical answer I hear when someone asks “How are you?” is usually “Busy”.

Almost everyone I know is busy. They feel anxious and guilty when they are not either working or doing something.

The present hysteria is not a necessary or inevitable condition of life. It is something we have chosen.

And it’s not just adults. Even children are busy now. Their schedule is jam-packed with classes and extracurricular activities. They come home at the end of the day as tired as adults. Exhausted. Dead on their feet.

Horribly destructive habits start early, really early.

How did we end up living like this? Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we do this to our children? When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?

Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored? Do we have to love our children so much that we over schedule them, making them stressed and busy — just like us?

What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with authentic pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?

How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?

This disease of being “busy” (and let’s call it what it is, the dis-ease of being busy, when we are never at ease) is spiritually destructive to our health and well being. It zaps our ability to be fully present with those we love the most in our families, and keeps us from forming the kind of community that we all so desperately crave.

Focusing on how busy we are is like putting on a mask. It keeps us from connecting on a deeper level with each other. In this day and age, we can all readily accept that we lead busy lives. This shows that your mind is elsewhere, thinking about work you have ahead of you or something you just finished. Instead of, you know, the people in front of you.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox. I want to know how your heart is doing, at this very moment. Tell me. Tell me your heart is joyous, tell me your heart is aching, tell me your heart is sad, tell me your heart craves a human touch. Examine your own heart, explore your soul, and then tell me something about your heart and your soul.

Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing. Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch. Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence.

Our relaxation often takes the form of action-filled (yet mindless) films, or violent and fast-paced sports. Idleness is not just a vacation. It is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body and if we are deprived of it we suffer mental affliction. The quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition to see life as a whole. It is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done in a proper manner.

Put your hand on my arm, look me in the eye, and connect with me for one second. Tell me something about your heart, and awaken my heart. Help me remember that I too am a full and complete human being, a human being who also craves a human touch.

I don’t have any magical solutions. All I know is that we are losing the ability to live a truly human life.

We need a different relationship to work, to technology. We know what we want: a meaningful life, a sense of community, a balanced existence. It’s not just about “leaning in” or faster iPhones. We want to be truly human.

“It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield.” -W. B. Yeats

How exactly are we supposed to examine the dark corners of our soul when we are so busy? How are we supposed to live the examined life?

Somehow we need a different model of organizing our lives, our societies, our families, our communities.

I want my kids to be dirty, messy, even bored — learning to become human. I want us to have a kind of existence where we can pause, look each other in the eye, touch one another, and inquire together: Here is how my heart is doing? I am taking the time to reflect on my own existence; I am in touch enough with my own heart and soul to know how I fare, and I know how to express the state of my heart.

How is the state of your heart today?

Let us insist on a type of human-to-human connection where when one of us responds by saying, “I am just so busy,” we can follow up by saying, “I know, love. We all are. But I want to know how your heart is doing.”

This is really important: stop telling people how busy you are. Take a pause when someone asks ‘how are you?’ and give a proper answer instead of relying on the ‘busy’ line.

Stop wearing busy as a badge of honor. There is a lot more to your life than your to-do list. Life is too short to be busy.


Jai Bhagwan,


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