“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is what are we busy about?” – Henry D. Thoreau
What are we busy about? Are we busy counting all the leaves on that beloved tree in our backyard? What are we busy about? Are we busy stacking pennies for the proverbial rainy day? What are we busy about? I have been busy thinking about time. It bothers me that people say there’s not enough time in the day to carry out whatever it is that must be accomplished. Technology and the inventor’s ingenuity have given us so many tools for us to save time doing stuff. Think about it. Yet we never seem to have time for much. So what is it that keeps us busy? Our work occupies much of our time. We work to fulfill our goals for the future. We are willing to work overtime to make more money so that we can accumulate wealth to spend our time in the future worry free. We have to make time for our daily chores such as laundry, cooking, cleaning, and getting ourselves organized. But when you have people who do that stuff for you, then why do we still say we are too busy. Some people are just busy in their minds. They think they are busy but they are not. They are only busy worrying about being too busy. So then, what are we busy about? Most of us are always in a rush to get somewhere because we do not have time. Some people said to me, “I am glad you have the time to write.” They make me feel guilty about it as if though I have this arsenal of time that I am not sharing with them. Is it that we lack organization or do not know how to manage our time? Again what are we so busy about?
Here is an interesting thought by Eric Hoffer:
“The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life.When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else – we are the busiest people in the world.”
I do not know if the time I spend thinking about time and being busy is good use of my time. I dread not being busy and being bored. I feel that time is so precious to be misused and that keeping busy must be a good thing. I guess I am most fearful of when people are too busy for me. Perhaps I am selfish but I do not want my children to be so busy that they cannot take time out for old mom. I do not think that I have ever been too busy for them and if I have then I will take this opportunity to apologize.
Socrates said, “beware the barrenness of a busy life.” I want busy to mean productive. I do not want to be “busy dying” and I do not want to die not being busy enough. Do I make sense?
In the event that I have confused you. I want to leave you with some quotes from my favorite poets and authors that I collected during my free time this very busy week.
“The busy have no time for tears.”
“Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.”
“An artist is a creature driven by demons. He doesn’t know why they choose him and he’s usually too busy to wonder why.
WHAT ARE YOU BUSY ABOUT? POST YOUR RESPONSE.
Melba Christie (c) 2016
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
“Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies – or else? The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.”
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
These are just a few of my favorite quotes. I think they are timeless. I hope we reflect on his wisdom and move to act and do what Is right to honor him.
When I think of December
Poinsettias come to mind
They make me smile
and tell me soon will be Christmas time.
– Melba Christie
When thou prayest, rather let thy heart be without words
than thy words without heart.
– John Bunyan
does everyone know we all want to be happy?
sometimes I wonder
if every one of us truly knows this as a truth
because if so
we would not hurt each other the way we do
does everyone know we all want to be happy?
we have the right to pursue happiness you know
no matter where we are or where we go
happiness lives within
for it is a lesson
a pure heart wants to share with us.
does everyone know we all want to be happy?
I certainly hope so
because such knowledge
can only bring us together
we are all one
“a cheerful heart has a continual feast”
our hearts all beat the same
perhaps even synchronous
I can almost hear our symphony,
Our sadness is the same as well
so there is only one more thing to tell
let us live in peace
Peace is not season;
it must be a way of life.
“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
-Edgar Allan Poe
“When it is dark enough you can see the stars”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
A few years ago I wrote a piece titled Don’t Die Wondering inspired by a quote by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. I published it on a website called Divine Caroline which is where I started submitting essays and poems as a guest blogger. I would get so excited when I received an email from the site telling me my poem or essay was accepted for publication. I have read almost all of Dr. Dyer’s books. He has been an inspiration for many years now. I feel like he was my mentor and teacher. I’d go back and read his quotes and my notes in the margins and use them to inspire me when I got writer’s block. I was always in awe of how no matter what book I’d pick up or what page I turned to, the message that caught my eye was so proper for the moment I was living.
Sadly and to my surprise today I read on Dr. Dyer’s Facebook page this message posted by his beloved family. “Wayne has left his body, passing away through the night. He always said he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying. Our hearts are broken, but we smile to think of how much our scurvy elephant will enjoy the other side.”
I was in shock. Just a few days ago I was ready to sign up to attend a conference in New York City on November 14 where Dr. Dyer would have been a keynote. He is considered a self-help guru and most of his books are listed as New York Times best sellers. Once again he is a source of inspiration to me. I will never get to meet him in person as I had hoped during the fall conference in the Big Apple. But I had the privilege of reading his work which was also an education in philosophy and cultural perspectives.
I shared his books with friends and most especially my beautiful mother-in-law who is also my inspiration. She is 87 years old (please don’t tell her I told you how old she is) she really doesn’t look a day over 50. She nurtures her soul and spirit with positive thoughts and good energy. When I told her our dear Dr. Dyer had passed she said, “He must be in a place surrounded by butterflies.” It was a reference to one of his books where he appears on the cover with a butterfly in hand. I got goosebumps when she said that. We would talk about his books and make references to his thoughts and his philosophy about life all the time. As soon as I ended our long distance phone conversation I went to the book shelf where I had stacked most of his books. Among them was Inspiration:Your Ultimate Calling. I opened the book and saw where I had underlined a quote I loved.”
“Dedicate your life to something that reflects an awareness of your Divinity.”
I hope I can live up to this suggestion. Dr. Dyer was “a creative master” and he encouraged his readers to “express their Divine nature.” I could see that he “must be in a place with butterflies” similar to the Monarch that flew into his hand one day as he thought about his friend Jack. He wrote, “As God is my witness, the butterfly made a U-turn and not only headed in my direction, but landed right smack on my finger! … I felt a deep affinity to this precious living being.” He used a picture of a butterfly throughout the book. He teaches us in the book the benefits of living an inspired life. Dr. Dyer was the greatest example. I can almost picture the scene when he meets God and where he can surely “see clearly now” across heaven.
In his memory I drew a butterfly. I have asked for inspiration to write a poem within the next few days to honor his memory as well.
“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded”
Thirty years ago I had the privilege of sending off an extraordinary 8th grade graduating class to high school. I used this quote by Emerson as an opening to my farewell speech. At the end of the ceremony, I was approached by some students who told me they would not forget me. Well, I did not believe them at the time. Recently, destiny has allowed me to bump into a few of them who recognized me right away. I must confess, I had to look deep to try to see the faces of those 12 and 13 year olds to recognize them. One of them, recited the quote and said, “Remember me, I never forgot what you said at graduation and I often think about you.” Then the memory lightbulb sparked; this was the student that told me he would never forget me. I became very emotional. Now that I am retired I think about many of my students. I remember the bright ones of course but I also wonder about the ones that struggled the most.
The new school year will begin soon. I could not believe it when he told me his daughter would start college this year. The best thing was when he told me he had written Emerson’s quote on an index card and slipped it into his daughter’s wallet to remind her about what it means to succeed. He thanked me for the inspiration and said, “You have succeeded.”
I want to wish all new teachers who will start their journey as educators of young people a wonderful and fruitful school year. Hopefully one day a student will walk up to you and express the sentiment my student did when you most needed to hear it.