The Art of Still Life

What a busy world we live in!  There’s 24-hour news with bylines that scroll constantly with updates and tid-bits of often-useless info, everyone seems plugged in to some electronic device (myself included, as I write this on my laptop, listening to Radiohead), and the general buzz of activity by the cars and public transportation outside.  We live about a ten-minute ride from the airport here in Raleigh, so the constant overflight of commercial aircraft is non-stop.  And then there are the bustling activities of the kids in the house, out of the house, and….Hank, our dog.  The list of errands to be run, chores to do around the house, my “honey-do” list of small projects to be completed around the home or the garage, and the kids’ homework when they get home from school.  Then there is the ever-present “what’s for dinner” debate in the back of my mind that starts around lunchtime.

With all of the activity how do we maintain our sanity?  What do we do to find relief?  I used to sit with a cup of coffee or hot tea at night, turn the tube on, and watch my shows until I was ready for bed.  Then, I started to get more and more involved with computers and network systems, so as I furthered my education and pursued my degrees in IT and Info. Sys. Mgmt., I began to spend more and more time online doing research or reading white papers on network systems.  Then came the contract consulting work and I was very busy with being the on-call IT guy.  This brought new leashes and short-tethers via cell phones and travel limitations during the on-call weekly rotations.

With all of the things we have going on in our lives, finding those still moments where you don’t have anything to do can either be terrifying or terrific.  It just depends on your mindset.  Do you thrive on the frenetic, gotta-be-doing-something-all-the-time schedule of the working American?  Or, like me, do you enjoy those quiet moments where you don’t have to be rushing to get something done or be somewhere?  How do we balance our busy lives so that we are still accomplishing what we need to accomplish without pulling our selves in sixty-bajillion different directions?  Sure, multi-tasking is great, but when is the last time you multi-tasked to include some peace and quiet for yourself.  Now, when is the last time you had peace and quiet, sans all work/task oriented items, with someone that you love to spend time with?

I have had two weeks of the best leave I believe I’ve ever taken during my military career.  I have browsed my Facebook page every day, at least once, sure.  I have sent and replied to emails, critical and casual alike.  But, I managed to minimize the things I usually get caught up in by simply choosing and planning, in a way, to just get away from it all for two weeks.  I’m not saying that you have to or need that much time.  Plan for what you can and take the available moments when you can.  But UNPLUG, UNWIND, and, most importantly, UNMOVE.  Okay, so that’s not a word, but it says it all very well.  BE STILL.  Not motionless, per se.  Just, un-busy.  You’ll find that you can be very busy with not being busy, and it feels, oh so good!  Besides, the world doesn’t stop working because you do, for brief moments or short lengths.  Some food for thought, the next time you have a quiet moment to digest it.

~ by kyodan75 on April 29, 2010.

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