Look busy


I am harried.

I run through the halls then walk right back,

a line of semi-boisterous children in tow.

Let’s go, I tell them.

We’re losing our PE time.


We always make it to our destination

sooner or later.


I am frazzled

because the tech won’t work

the way I need it to

right this moment.

I am in a hurry and

have no time for this nonsense,


Why won’t this work??


And I am blind to the simplest solution:

to press home, pull up the bottom menu

Mirror air-play go

All there.

It’s fine

but I am not.


Because I had to ask a stupid question

to get a simple answer

and felt silly and helpless and dependent

and I hated that part.

But the tech works now

so there’s that.


In my other cognitive life

the writing that remains undone

keeps poking me at night

annoyed that so little of what appeared to be

so much

has materialized on a page of some sort.

There are plans and ideas and publications

all lying fallow

while I sweep, drag or push myself forward

and back and over.


At some point I fall asleep and pass on the dream option.


As I rush to and fro

from one engagement to the next

My attention remains divided

and scattered yet functional enough

to manage a day to day

that suggests logic and planning

of one kind or another.


While I hold up this appearance

I talk to students,

chat with colleagues,

return calls.

I look busy.


I’m pretty good

at looking busy.


I could be better

at doing less

at slowing down

at breathing deeply

at being human.









And when this is done…

How many times do you say that to yourself?

“…and when this is done, then I’ll…” Oh, illusion!

My list usually includes verbs like finish, clean, collect, store, organize, write, read, re-read, call, listen to, sit down with, and on and on. And in rare cases, some of these events actually come to pass. Like “When I’m done with the laundry, I’ll sit down with a nice cup of tea.” Or “When I’m done recording students’ tickets, I’ll make a list of what we got done.”

Like most folks I know, I feel like I have a lot on my plate. That means that I am always in the process of trying to empty it. I complete this task, then move on to the next. Or, I get started over there while I am still in the middle of this thing right here. Fully in the maelstrom between activity and recovery, I habitually bite off just a little bit more than I can chew and hope for the best. There are moments when of course the plate is full and so is my mouth. I’m chewing but not really digesting.

I’m making mistakes. I recently double booked myself with two appointments I definitely wanted to keep. I am getting things done, well enough but likely not at my very best. My efforts lack efficiency and at times, effectiveness. Things are going – with or without me.

Be that all as it may, these seem like good opportunities to let go. That’s right, to let go. I am learning how to let go of getting everything right. I am letting go of being right. I am learning to let go of the need to be the one. The one who gets A’s, is everyone’s favorite, always wears a smile, hardly complains, is always calm and positive. Some of those attributes fit me sometimes but certainly not always, and I’m getting better at being OK with that.

“When this project is done, I’ll have more time to write.”

That statement is still probably not true. In the interest of learning to let go, I want to practice focusing on what is true:

  • The project will have an end.
  • I will make choices about how I allocate my time and energy to other topics.
  • I will make choices about how I frame my thinking about the priorities I set.
  • Every conversation I have is with myself (and may involve other people). *

I began by talking about the “state of my plate.” And ultimately, my plate is not the issue. What is on or off the plate will change. How I approach the plate will change. Right now I notice a real taste for release, breathing space, an open calendar. These are things I can begin preparing or perhaps only need to take off the shelf – because I have them in store, but I’ve placed them out of sight and/reach. The metaphors here around eating and digesting are hardly lost on me. My search for nourishment, for sustenance, is never ending. My awareness of and engagement with that search takes many forms, of which writing is one, living my family life is another, cultivating relationships private and professional, yet another.

I have a healthy acquaintance with satisfaction. And I need to frequently remind myself of that fact.

“When this blog post is done…”

…let’s just see.

*Insight from reading Susan Scott’s  Fierce Conversations.