by Damien Faughnan
Last November, my acupuncturist bluntly stated, “The way you are living is not normal.” It stung, and not just because he was sticking needles in me at the time! The truth is, I spent last year in a fog of being “too busy.”
Since then, I’ve been immersed in a conversation with myself about what constitutes a “normal” life. I’ve been asking myself: Why? Why do I do this to myself? Why have I succumbed to living as a human “doing” when I really want to be a human being?
I know I’m not alone. I hear it from my clients and from my brothers in Illuman. In our so-called “advanced” world, we have created a way of living where we are all too busy. Too busy for sitting and listening. Too busy to create and nourish community. Too busy to just be.
And this appears to be worse if you have kids! I hear my friends who have kids tell me that they are run ragged trying to manage their kids’ schedules. It would appear that we are raising really busy kids too.
We’ve not been helped by technology. What is supposed to make our lives easier and simpler is, in fact, demanding more and more of our attention. Emails, social media, breaking news; they all battle for our attention. And we now have a new condition for those who can’t disconnect: FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out).
People experience anxiety because they are afraid of missing something, and thus they constantly have to check their digital device. Who isn’t overwhelmed with a daily avalanche of email? I have clients who come home from work, have dinner, and then go back to work, fighting a never-ending battle with the ever-filling inbox.
The unexamined life is not worth living, or so they say. With all of this “busyness,” how do we stay grounded and connected?
I know that lots of us crave a different relationship with technology, our work, our families, and our community. We want to be connected and grounded. This is precisely why we need a spiritual practice.
At a very basic level, it challenges us to “show up” and be fully awake. It challenges us to both live differently and engage in a different way of “knowing.” I know it challenges me to be centered, grounded, and genuinely connected.
I’m a work in progress. That’s what the spiritual journey is all about. I’ve made some significant changes in order to better manage my commitments, my travel, my use of technology, and my engagement with the world. I am also choosing to continue to grapple with the question: “Are you living a normal life?”
Damien Faughnan is an executive coach who works with senior executives seeking to become more effective leaders. He serves as Chair of the Board for Illuman, a non-profit that supports men who desire to deepen their spiritual lives. Damien is happily married and lives in Scottsdale, Arizona. Illuman is an organization for men dedicated to safe-guarding and expanding Fr. Richard Rohr’s transformative men’s work.