By Maria Koshute
"How are you?"
When asked this question, how many of us have responded: "Ugh. BUSY!" or gave a noncommittal shrug and said, “Good. Busy!” It's no new fact that we live and function in a culture of busy. No matter what your state in life, no matter your age, chances are, between work and responsibilities, family and friends, job and health and religious commitments, we stay so very busy. Trying to keep up with this modern pace can be exhausting. Even the prospect of simplifying, minimizing and organizing can itself seem daunting and just one more burden.
I often find myself bent down under the weight of busy. So many obligations to fulfill. So many relationships to feed and maintain. So much time spent with self-care to even maintain a status quo of physical and psychological equilibrium.
Business demands a quick step, a fast pace, a juggling of tasks. Rushed is the current tempo of modern life. In order to fit it all in, we rush. Meals are rushed. Conversation is rushed. Sleep even is rushed.
The other day I found myself, in an acutely self-aware moment, struggling under the weight of busy. Before work that morning, I had hurriedly packed my lunch, packed important work necessities, and packed a gym bag for the day. I rushed out the door in a flurry. Buzzing through the workday, rushing from meeting to meeting, class to class, firing away e-mail after e-mail.
After my workday was finished, I zipped over to the gym. Time to crunch in another item on my to-do list before I stopped by the grocery store on the way home, made dinner, and then attended to a phone call. As I was changing in the locker room, I began to feel the weight of busy slump down on me as I rushed to get into my gym clothes.
Sometimes, even just one small moment is full with the weight of a year: job transitions, a move 600 miles away, long distance relationship blossoming, nurturing family relationships, learning a new city and a new routine. And yet there is still, in that moment, a realization that I need to rush.
I grabbed my socks out of my gym bag, my frenzied state coming to my consciousness.
Suddenly myself told myself: "Maria just put on your sock."
I thought how funny this seemed.
Gently, slowly, patiently: "Maria just put on your sock."
I took a deep breath. I focused.
In that moment, I gave myself permission. Not to worry about yesterday, today, tomorrow. But exactly what I was doing in that exact moment.
I gave myself permission to stop rushing. To slow down. To simply be completely absorbed in that one thing: put on my sock.
I felt the softness on my foot. I felt the fabric glide on to my toes, the arch of my foot, my sole. I noticed its bright orange color. I noted this moment. This feeling. This tending to myself. I noted the simplicity of this one thing.
The next moment would come. The next demand would come. But for now, I was simply putting on my sock.