February 4, 2009

I Am Not What I Do

Sure, just like every other Type A personality, I enjoy being busy. What I don't like is the accompanying stress brought on by self-imposed deadlines. Having too many things on my mind causes things to slip through cracks and missed details. (This topic is a rerun, which means I haven't conquered the challenge yet!)

From the lovely blog of Nina Bagley, I learned the word, indolence. One of her readers, Jackie Bastow, provided an excerpt from Henry van Dyke's Fisherman's Luck, 1899, in the chapter entitled, "A Lazy, Idle Brook."

Indolence is a virtue. It comes from two Latin words, which mean freedom from anxiety or grief. And that is a wholesome state of mind. There are times and seasons when it is even a pious and blessed state of mind. Not to be in a hurry; not to be ambitious or jealous or resentful; not to feel envious of anybody; not to fret about to-day nor worry about to-morrow, --that is the way we ought all to feel at some time in our lives; and that is the kind of indolence in which our brook faithfully encouraged us.

Think I'm gonna download this book onto my iPod. Here are two more paragraphs to finish the thought. Wonderful!

It is an age in which such encouragement is greatly needed. We have fallen so much into the habit of being always busy that we know not how nor when to break it off with firmness. Our business tags after us into the midst of our pleasures, and we are ill at ease beyond reach of the telegraph and the daily newspaper. We agitate ourselves amazingly about a multitude of affairs,--the politics of Europe, the state of the weather all around the globe, the marriages and festivities of very rich people, and the latest novelties in crime, none of which are of vital interest to us. The more earnest souls among us are cultivating a vicious tendency to Summer Schools, and Seaside Institutes of Philosophy, and Mountaintop Seminaries of Modern Languages.

We toil assiduously to cram something more into those scrap-bags of knowledge which we fondly call our minds. Seldom do we rest tranquil long enough to find out whether there is anything in them already that is of real value,--any native feeling, any original thought, which would like to come out and sun itself for a while in quiet.

No comments: