TAOLife-Socrates-Beware-the-barrenness-of-a-busy-lifeHello all!

What a wonderful week of outings it has been for me folks, but everything must come to end … as it did today. Socrates’s saying: “Beware the Barrenness of a Busy Life!” was ringing in my ears. Okay, so let’s have a recap of what happened this week to cause me to think this way.

I have already written about my day on Tuesday at the 1770-1945 Quilt Exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery which was wonderful. This was followed the next day by an unexpected last-minute adventure to the beach with my daughter-in-law Belinda to spend time with her parents who were staying there.

As Belinda and I travelled on Wednesday to the Gold Coast at Surfers Paradise, our two little ones in the back seat were making their presence felt. I expected that Isaac (3) would be asking every five minutes “are we nearly there yet?” but no! He never once asked that question that drives parents crazy.

On the way down, his mantra was “Mum, I want to go to the toilet” which is a far worse cry than “are we nearly there yet?” as it involved stopping somewhere to take him to the toilet.  Madeleine was restless too and what began as a whimper had reached a full crescendo by the time we had found a Service Station for Isaac’s toilet stop.

"Pat's unit' The Wyndham  at surfers Paradise

“Grandma Pat’s unit’ Wyndham at Surfers Paradise

Some holding by Grandma did help but we had to get going and so eventually the whimpering continued until we reached what Isaac called “Grandma Pat’s unit” (where Grandad happened to be also).  We had a lovely day together eating, drinking and enjoying the grandchildren … so good for the spirit … with us grandparents even managing to take Isaac for a walk on the beach.

On the way home, Isaac’s mantra had changed. This time the repetition was, “Mummy, I need a drink of water” despite a big drink of water before leaving. Grandma Tess offered Isaac some dates which appeased him for a short time, but it wasn’t long before the mantra began again … until we satisfied his thirst at my house half an hour later. Oh, it had been a lovely day with Belinda’s sister and baby joining us there also.

Then, on Thursday I happened to be in an old suburb in the inner city for an appointment and found a second-hand book shop and cafe in an old building perfectly suited for the purpose. Oh, how I love book shops of any kind, but when I walked in to this old shop surrounded on every side by books almost reaching the ceiling, I was in seventh heaven!

Where to begin in such a delightful place? So, in my dilemma at not being able to take in every book in the ten minutes I had left to get to my appointment, I whispered a quick prayer as I tend to do when I am overwhelmed, “Surprise me Lord! Find me a book I’d really like,:” as I was determined to buy something from this wonderful book shop.

Clarence Corner Book Shop

Clarence Corner Book Shop

Within thirty seconds, my eye fell on a book that is out of print, which I have really wanted to find: “Letters from Westerbork” written during World War II by a Etty Hillisum (a Dutch Jewish woman) while she was in Westerbork Prison. She was finally sent to Auschwitz where she died at 28 years of age.

Snatching my book in its paper bag, I glided out of the shop almost walking on cloud nine. What a find at The Clarence Corner Book Shop. www.cornerbookshop.com.au/

But all my activities are over now. I have had a ‘at home’ day today and I couldn’t seem to do anything productive. I kept stopping and reading magazines or sitting in the sun to have lunch … and then staying there. I even made Anzac biscuits! Anything to avoid the demands of housework or some study.

Have you ever noticed when you have been busy for days on end without any reprieve that you get all wound up and when the activities stop, you don’t know what to do with yourself? I think we have to learn to stop. And so, whilst cleaning up old emails this afternoon, I came across an email with the heading:  Pause for Productivity.

Yep, there it was! This article giving me permission to have some ‘down time’ and hailing the wonders of ‘STILLNESS’. So, dear friends, how does one describe stillness? Dr. Helena Popovic described it as follows:

“Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Rest your attention on it. Notice how still they are. When we notice nature’s stillness, we become aware of the stillness that resides in all of us.  And connecting with this stillness, re-energises both the brain and the body.”

Why do we need to be still in between activities? There was a long list of things … and they all sounded great. Here are few in dot point. Stillness …

  • helps the brain replenish its finite capacity for concentration and intense mental activity.
  • immediately reduces feelings of stress; helps us re-gain perspective and clarity.
  • allows us to connect with our true needs and our intuition.
  • strengthens our immune function and helps regulate all our body processes.
  • is exquisitely nourishing – physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.

So dear friends, according to Dr. Popovic it isn’t that hard to find stillness … even in the midst of busyness. We have to practice it. She says:

“So whenever there’s some silence around you, listen to it.  That means just notice it.  Pay attention to it.  Stay connected to it for as long as you can. Whenever we’re living in the moment, consciously and intentionally focusing on the present situation, we enter the realm of stillness.”  Read more about stillness here: drhelenapopovic.cmail5.com

And that, dear friends, is what happened to me today … a fitting end to my week of busyness. Not one hit of barrenness left within me … just time to stop and ‘BE STILL‘ remembering the delights of my busy week.