It seems like people are so busy these days. There aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we want to accomplish. We keep pushing ourselves to work more, do more, and be more. It seems like accomplishment is the name of the game most days. How many things can we check off our never-ending “To Do” list? “Busy-ness” is seen as a badge of honor in our society.
This morning, as I pondered my own busy-ness, or lack thereof, I remembered a certain man I used to know that I really admired. This man, who was like a father figure, had a certain way of making me feel like I was the only person in the room when he talked with me. I knew his position in my church meant that he spoke with lots of people throughout the week, but I had a suspicion that he was able to make every person he met feel like they were the only person he was concerned about in that moment. I admired that quality about him, though I never thought to develop it myself. That is, not until this morning.
Have you ever been around someone who seemed too busy for you, even when you both set aside time to spend together?
I have. While I was in the presence of those who seemed super busy, I felt like they didn’t have time for me. I felt like the amount of “busy-ness” I had in my life could never measure up in the amount they had in theirs. I felt less than.
Because of those experiences, I have made it a goal to try to give my undivided attention to those I am around. One way I try to give people my undivided attention is to put my phone away when I am with them. I want them to know that I am truly with them. During my precious time with friends and loved ones, my phone can wait. Even when I am on-call, as I often am, I am not constantly checking it. I try to make a point of setting it in a place that is close enough to hear and go about spending time with those I am around. My off-call time is my treasured time to put my phone on silent and even leaving it at home sometimes.
I didn’t realize until this morning, that in order to help people feel like they are the only person I am thinking about when I am with them, I will need to practice. I need to treat my lack of “busy-ness” as a skill-building exercise.
As I continued to ponder, I asked myself, “Who is it that I want to feel like they are the only one in my presence when we are together?”
I want my friends to feel that, when we are together, I am truly with them. I want them to feel like I want to know them and that I treasure those rare stolen moments that we get to spend time together. I want them to feel loved and special around me. I want them to feel like I am interested in them. I want them to know that I am concerned about them and that I really am here for them to hear those deep questions about life. I want them to know that I am always ready to have meaningful conversations.
I want my clients to feel like they are my only client. I don’t want them to have to worry where my mind is while I am attending their birth. I don’t want my clients to have to worry about my “behind the scenes” or my “busy-ness.” I don’t want them to feel rushed when I am around, and I want them to feel like I am giving them my undivided attention. I want them to feel like I truly care about them as people and want them to have an amazing birth.
My poor unfortunate family hasn’t always gotten my best, nor my undivided attention. I want to work on that. I do try to put my phone away in a place that I can hear it, though. They know that I am a doula, and they know that means I may need to leave at a moment’s notice. But I do not need to constantly check my phone in order to be able to leave at a moment’s notice.
And if I do have some free time? I need to treasure those moments as time I can spend on myself. I can finally do those things I am usually too busy to do. I often wish I had time to just do what I want, such as finally read those books that keep piling up on my nightstand. Losing myself in an awesome novel used to be one of my favorite activities, but I haven’t had the time to do that as much as I used to since having kids. Now that they are getting older and a little more independent, I’ve been able to read more often. I want to embrace those sacred opportunities to fill my cup.
I have found that in order to embrace those sacred opportunities to fill my cup, I need to let go of the idea that “busy-ness” is a badge of honor. I need to honor my body when it asks me to provide it with rest. I need to simplify my life. It helps me be a better friend, wife, mother, and doula when I am not super busy.