So, how have you been lately?

Busy as a beaver? Wicked busy? Way too busy?

Oh, I can totally relate. I know what it’s like to wear busy as my own badge of honor. Maybe you have as well.

Busy is good, right? After all, as the saying goes.. “idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Better stay busy!!

In our culture, we value being busy. At work, our worth is measured by our productivity.
Our own feelings of worthiness are strongly linked to how well we handle being busy.

I’ll admit, I’ve used it as my own excuse many times over. Hey – it works better than saying “I didn’t have time to call you back. Or “there were so many other things in my life that at the moment were more important.” Or “I’m feeling quite a bit overwhelmed with all the demands on my time and energy that I simply haven’t taken a single moment to take care of myself and my needs.” Sometimes, it seems as if the only way to avoid all the demands of everyone around you is to literally be sick (or claim that you are) so that people will give you some space to breathe. Does any of this sound familiar to you at all?

And what exactly does “too busy” really feel like?

“Too busy” feels like our priorities are out of order. “Too busy” feels like we’re living life according to someone else’s values. “Too busy” feels like we don’t matter.

If “busy” is so honorable, then why does it feel so wrong?

Yet we carry on in spite of how we feel, because we have people who count on us and we can’t let them down. We have work to do and bills to pay. We feel that if we fail at work, we lose everything.

Our “busy-ness” feels like it owns us. We no longer feel like our true selves. And we begin to make poor decisions. We begin to ignore the signs and signals that tell us enough is enough.

Have you noticed how it seems as though running red lights has become routine? Does it seem as if people are ignoring the signs and signals that warn them to stop?

I have come to the conclusion that running red stems from our being “too busy.” Either we are so preoccupied that we don’t notice the signal to stop or the decision is being made to rush onward as the consequences of being late outweigh the risk of hitting the brakes. Why else would anyone make the decision to put themselves and those around them at risk rather than stopping safely and within time to calmly await the minute or so for the light to turn green?

We now live under such duress that the consequences of being late to wherever it is we are headed creates more fear than the consequences of putting our own and the lives of others at risk. Am I right or can you think of another reasonable explanation for the red light runner phenomenon?

Running red lights, being “too busy” and losing our sense of self are closely related. Our priorities are out of whack. Our values are completely out of alignment. Our need to be “unstoppable” is putting us in harm’s way.

What can be done?

Let’s begin by giving ourselves permission to slow down when the light is yellow and stop when the light is red. Then spend the next minute in gratitude that we are safe.

Let’s all see how it feels to pause for just a few seconds and realize that we are not unstoppable, nor do we have the need to be.

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