News & Musings

The Busyness of Work

Posted on Aug 03 2017

Recently I have been reflecting on David Whyte musings about work and our perceptions of busyness.

"Our relationship to time has become corrupted exactly because we allow ourselves very little experience of the timeless. We speak continually about saving time, but time in its richness is most often lost when we are busy without relief.  At speed, the world becomes a blur, and all those other lives we encounter that are not our own become a blur too. Our hours of work and our traveling to work are getting longer and longer, but at the same time our perception of those hours becomes shorter and shorter: short, abstract, and ungraspable. We speak of stealing time as if it no longer belonged to us. We speak of needing time as if it wasn't around us already in every moment. We want to make time for ourselves as if it were in our power to do so. Time is the conversation with absence and visitation, the frontier between ourselves and those we love; the hours become ripe with happening only when we are attentive, patient, and present."

"The serial events of our busy lives look very different from the perspective of the deathbed. We experience then, not clear-cut moments, but tonalities, emotional presences, the eternal spreading out in ripples from the tiny dropped stone of the remembered moment. We are each surrounded by an enormous silence that can be a blessing and a help to us, a silence in which the skein of reality is knitted and unraveled to be knit again, in which the perspectives of work can be enlarged and enriched. Silence is like a cradle holding our endeavors and our will; a silent spaciousness sustains us in our work and at the same time connects us to larger worlds that, in the busyness of our daily struggle to achieve, we have not yet investigated. Silence is the soul's break for freedom."

David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

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