the other side of busy


Busy is a very slippery word.

A very dirty and cunning word, indeed.

When you hear it or if it happens to indiscreetly leave your lips, brace yourself, because you’re about to fall into a misty sea of trouble. You’re about to go chin deep into the busy sewer, bubbling and brimming with half-truths, and indelicate lies.

When you are busy, you have allowed yourself to become seductively misdirected. You’re been made a witness to crime. A most underhanded delinquency that steals your day and bargains your life. Misappropriates your time. Offers you the empty illusion of stacking or moving things around, without any meaningful purpose, and in the end signifying nothing.

You’re in the busy creek, and you’ve just dropped your paddle.

No one is busy.

Anyone who says they are, are not.

They probably feel like it. A bit overwhelmed, nervous, anxious, angry, a touch passive aggressive perhaps, but they are never busy. 

Never busy.

I didn’t say that people are not hard at work. Deeply engaged in their task. Or engrossed in an important project. I am just pointing out, that the people who truly are, will never utter the word busy.

They are never busy.

They know the cost of hard work.

Real hard work drags you through the underbelly of fear and frustration. Keeps you engaged, concerned, and totally absorbed on the task. Absorbed and focused on meaningful work. That in the end, leads to a dream fulfilled.

Busy work, on the other hand, focuses on itself. On the mere passage of time, the unfairness of life and its demands, and the lack of assistance from those who can lend a hand.

The empty phrase, I’m busy, turns out to be more of a puny yelp and a hollow cry to be left alone, than an indication to the contrary.

The road less travelled is always on the other side of busy.

On the other side of the life.

There, priorities dictate what gets done first, and direct what follows.

Priorities. Not busy work.

This over that.

This particular dinner engagement over that one. A phone conversation with this friend over another. Working on this particular task, instead of working on that one.

Well planned. Thought out and identified.


And no one gets hurt that this or that didn’t get done first, even though, there was an official memo and a long staff meeting about it. Or that this or that idea of theirs, was ignored. Especially when something more important and meaningful rises to the surface.

On the other side, no one is offended at the sudden change in direction. No one feels hurt or throws a tantrum when things don’t go their way, because they understand that it’s all part of the process.

Everything is interconnected. And hearing no, means a yes to something else. Not doing this, gives you the time to focus on that.

On the other side of busy, a lot of things of ostensible importance, don’t really matter. What matters is the trust, hope, and love, you have for one other.

It is easy to say you have faith or that you believe in hope. It’s easy to say, I love you. I trust you. Or, I believe in you.

It’s as easy, as saying, you’re busy. When you’re not.

It’s easy, but not on the other side.

On the other side of busy, real life happens. People actually care for one another. They embrace and care for everything. The universal totality of existence. Absolutely everything that has been gifted the chance to live.

On the other side of busy, lives friendship, commitment, gratitude, abundance, and graciousness.

The grass on the other side is for once greener.

It is happier. More meaningful.

But never busy.




I have never had the pleasure of meeting Larry in person, but I miss him, now that he’s gone.

I didn’t know him that well, and our series of encounters came through Facebook messenger. Over a period of a year or so, sending messages back and forth, here and there. A series of quiet and unassuming pieces of conversation, in spurts and flashes.

We didn’t chat for long, or often, for that matter, and sometimes about nothing in particular, but as I write, I really miss him.

I am writing this post because I want to remember Larry, and everyone else like him, I happen to meet along the way, in this seemingly trivial life of happenchance.

We met through a magnificent friend of ours, who connected us, because we both loved music. She is always connecting people. She’s really good at it. A sort of non-romantic match maker par excellence.

Larry was a bit older than me, and for this reason some people would probably question his deep but youthful aspiration to be a musician, which suited me just fine. We were a great pair, because I like to think of myself as an aging, but aspiring writer and photographer.

Larry and I blended well.

I told him he needed to record his music. That most people go to the grave with their song still in them. He huffed and puffed that he didn’t have the right equipment. That he didn’t have enough courage or time. I told him that there was no such thing as the right equipment and that courage comes to those who dare to leap into the moment, and right now, is always the perfect time.

He agreed.

But life crept, as it always does, at its seemingly slow and petty pace, and so he went to his grave with his song unsung.

As sad as it is that the world will never hear his music, I am thankful and grateful, that we had a chance to share a few moments together.

He admired my concert photos I would post from time to time and he encouraged me to keep making more, telling me that I had a good eye for things.

I don’t really know what his voice sounded like, but I sometimes think I can hear it, when I am by the concert stage, in the pit, half blinded by the colourful lights, and ready to pursue the perfect frame of digital film.

I wish Larry and I had some more time. He died so suddenly.

I hope he finds some much-needed rest and I will have a few choice words for him, if he doesn’t finish his music, his magnum opus, because I still want to hear it someday.

Not for a while though, I have my own music to write.

Thank-you Larry, for teaching me an important lesson about what it means to be human. Something that I won’t soon forget.

I learned from you, that it doesn’t take much to truly connect with anyone. It just takes a little smidge of effort and a tiny pinch of time.

The fact that there are so many lonely people in the world, is truly sad and unnecessary.

Too many people suffer in silence. Too many of us are desperately disconnected from one another. We sit all alone. Battered by our own cruel voices of discouragement. At a time in human history, when human connection is not only possible, but available everywhere, and at every turn.

I hope that during this magical, but dark time of year, you embrace the ones you love. Tell them love them and explain what they mean to you. Give them the best gift you can. The gift of time. Time with you. Undisturbed. Undistracted.


I also hope you have a chance to smile at a stranger. A chance to exchange a few courteous words with those which fate binds you with. Even the cranky ones.

Come to think of it, especially the cranky ones.

Remember that it’s never the grand gestures that truly matter. They just happen to be what we remember the most.

But sometimes.

Sometimes. The little things. Those seemingly insignificant forgettable words, happen to mean more, because they truly connect us.

They carry within them, the true spirit of living.

The true spirit of being human.


who over what


When you are asked about your day, what comes to mind?

Did you awake today to be with people or to take your orders from things?

Things to do. Things to analyze. Things to sell.


The question is very important and an honest, truthful answer, even more so.

As you search your mind for what you’ve done today or perhaps what you have failed to do, so begins the deliberate dance of measuring yourself against predetermined expectations, obligations, and the tiresome struggle for happiness.

It’s so easy and effortless to recall the things we have done. The things we do.

The what of our lives always bubbles to the surface, because we were taught to be task oriented.

Our schooling, very dutifully and forcibly, convinced us that life is nothing more than a series of lectures, dry PowerPoint presentations, complied into notes, late night study sessions, which ultimately culminate in a seemingly important test.

Our lives haven’t changed much. 

Our thinking is still very much confined to what we have learned in our educational institution.

We have traded our hopes and dreams for good marks, and our rightful place in a commercial or industrial institution.

We pride ourselves that at least we are not suffering the toil of meaningless work in a penal institution.

So, we wake up. Bitch about our morning. Drag our feet to work. Struggle and complain with those who choose to commiserate with our putrid sadness.

We go home. Drown our misery with some fried fish, some Gin and Tonic, and endless episodes of streamed entertainment.

We wake up tired and we begin where we left off. We look for more things to do.

But it’s not about the what.

It’s not about our to do list, about efficiency, productivity, the predictability of measurement, or our misguided expectations, assessments, and evaluations. It’s not about spending the best part of our day at the shopping mall, alone, fighting and searching for the biggest trinket for someone we love, so they can return it after boxing day.

Our day should be about the who.

About the people we love, and about the people whose company we enjoy.

The who is more infinitely more important than the what.

People never serve a purpose. They are not a means to an end.

There is nothing for them to do.

They are human beings.

They are.

They be.

And all we have been give is just a bit of time. A bit of time to spend in their company. To get to know them. To help them and in turn to be supported by them. To leave them a little better and happier than we have found them.

Many of us feel terrible about our day, but we often don’t remember who was there by our side. Who brought us coffee. Who shared a laugh. Who dared to dream out loud. Who persevered against a sea of troubles. Who battled. And who understood and embraced us for who we are.

The who should always trump the what.

You should see your day for the people you spent it with.

It is so simple, yet why is it so complicated?

When you finish reading this. When you are finally done here. Won’t you go back to whatever things are clamoring for your attention? Won’t you forget I ever existed?


the illusion of retirement


The very idea of retirement is now not only outdated, but outright barbarous.

We have been preconditioned and desperately long for retirement. We all pine for the days when we don’t have to file into work anymore, into our real or imagined cubicles, to follow a set of predetermined systems and procedures, in order to achieve a set of measureable predetermined results.

And for what?

We work so hard to pay off our mortgage, to educate our children, to have a healthy investment portfolio, and to maximize our retirement package. If you’re lucky.

But for what?

We salivate and await our curtain call. We wait for our moment to finally rest. To retire. To finally get to the important things of life. Our moment of greatness. That moment of anticipated glory and majesty, of doing, and being everything we promised ourselves we would be, when the day would finally come.


The grand finale of illusion.

The truth is, there really is no retirement.

There is only living and then the rest is silence.

Living requires work. Living involves pain. Living calls for sacrifice. It calls for perpetual sweat and toil.

There is always something. Something to do. Something to overcome. A promise to fulfill.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, or what health condition you find yourself in. It doesn’t matter, because life demands and nudges all of us, to keep expressing the simple truth and glory of being alive.

But how do we treat wisdom and the glory of being alive?

When you get old. When you retire. When you finally learn something worthwhile to share and leave behind, the world no longer finds a use for you.

The next generation of dreamers gets to work reinventing a somewhat worn but still a well-built wheel. But they never ask about the road ahead.

The road ahead.

They work so efficiently and so tirelessly, and so blindly, I hasten to add, just like you did, to get a head, to build that perfect thingamajig, and to steal precious time from the things you promised yourself you would finally get to, when you had the chance, and definitely, when you retired.

I hope you were lucky.

I hope you loved and accepted love in turn. That you build a loving family and that the wisdom of your old age is not a burden, but has become a beacon and a celebration of a well lived life.

Those didn’t are usually being locked up.

They are in a prison.

They sit alone, in retirement homes, in hospital beds, in dark basements, waiting and hoping that someone, anyone, will come and spend some time with them.

So much wisdom wasted.

So much wisdom locked up and hidden from the world.

So many songs yet unsung.

But the young will always remain restless and misdirected. It’s the human condition. They chase bright shiny objects and are so easily distracted by the simplest flutter of a butterfly.

They too are alone.

They live inside their headphones. Inside their social media compounds. They guard their feelings. They hide. They run. They take shelter inside the countless photos of things they do not really care about. They take pride in accomplishments they will soon forget. They are agitated, impatient, and hungry in their search for meaning.

They are everywhere.

They are no different than you and I.

I wish they could leave their prison.

I wish they could visit wisdom. To go where wisdom lives. Abandoned. Forgotten. Retired.

If we could only get them talking.

That would be a marvelous sight.

A fulfillment of a dream. A promise delivered. A beautiful and magical sight of hope.

I for one still believe.

I believe in wisdom.

I just no longer believe in retirement.


the meaning of human suffering


Pain and suffering.

It is undeniable that all of us are born to suffer and to experience pain.

It is an unescapable part of our human reality.

Throughout your life you will experience the sting of living. The loss of someone you loved. The agony of being abused or tormented. The pain of being a long-time addict.

Some suffering seems to last forever, and for some people, it does. The pain never truly goes away. It hides and refuses to leave. Becomes muted and fades for a brief period of time, only to flare up again, and consume them unsuspectingly.

It is going to hurt like hell.

That’s for sure.

But this is not the whole story.

That is not your story.

Just because pain is an unescapable and unavoidable human condition, doesn’t mean that it carries no value or holds no ultimate meaning for our lives.


That is the springboard of our conversation.

The meaning of human suffering.

You may disagree, but your pain has tremendous meaning.

Granted, it is a tough reality to embrace at the best of times and it is certainly not easy to believe in the redemptive power of suffering when you are drowning in another person’s filth, or laying numb, refusing to go on.

But all suffering, all pain, offers tremendous value, to everyone who seeks it out.

Suffering is not like an ache. It’s more like a gas.

It doesn’t only hurt here or there, but it suffocates and consumes our entire being.

It doesn’t matter in the least how much or how little gas fills your lungs, it will inevitably bring you to your knees, gasping for air, just the same. Which is fruitless then, to compare our pain; to compare wounds or rank our many circles of hell.

When our suffering abates. When the storm subsides. When our agony fades. We have to search for the purpose of the pain. You have to search for meaning.

You have to summon the courage to find it because it is there.

A hidden gift.

An inspiring example for you, but also for other people.

Suffering has tremendous meaning. 

It has great value, but sadly, too many people choose to suffer alone.

Too many people seek to dig the unforgiven or seek relief in anything else but each other.

When a Canadian goose is hurt, they leave their formation and head down to rest. They never leave alone. Another goose, comes along with them. To help them. To protect them. To ease their suffering.

Should we be more like the Canadian geese?

Of course.

It is never good to suffer in silence. It serves no purpose. It causes more harm.

It makes the whole world distant.

Your suffering is meant to be shared because there is nothing that says you must face all of this alone.

You are not helpless.

There is a tremendous power in being a human being. We have the divine ability to feel each other’s pain. To connect. To suffer together. To offer consolation and hope to one another.

Yet the victim who suffers is crippled by fear.

The fear of being misunderstood. The fear of being judged. Laughed at. Told to get on with it. To suck it up. To stop their ridiculous and unwanted whining.

But this great fear is not real.

True, some people are assholes. No doubt about it. They would defecate in your cornflakes if let them. They are not the goose you are looking for. They are a nauseating pigeon who shits all over everything.

Ignore this pigeon.

Fly down in the company of a true friend.

Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Your friend is vulnerable too.

You would be surprised how they suffer.

Suffer in silence.

They are searching for meaning too.