Puttering

Mettā Sutta verse 2, translation by Andrew Olendzki

“Content with little, easily maintained,
Not doing too much and lightly engaged;
Thoughtful, with a peaceful demeanor, and
Modest, without greed among worldly things.”

 

I like this description because it conveys a lack of intensity, a person getting things done with clarity and simplicity. If you don’t need much, you don’t have as much stuff to maintain. You can just be.

Women used to call this “puttering around the house.” There was a sense that this was okay. It implied slowly organizing things, gathering things and figuring out what to do with them. Most workplaces today would fire someone for puttering, even though puttering might give an employee the organizing and peace that the organization needs most.

Instead, workplaces reward appearing occupied, often even as the worker accomplishes little or spend their time online looking at porn. I love the bumper sticker that says, “Look busy. Jesus is coming.” It’s not about getting anything real done, just looking busy.

Many years ago, when I worked in retail, I knew a lady that got a lot done but was as slow as molasses. Watching her work made me fidgety. I wondered how she got anything done, but, at the end of the shift, she was always finished. When I observed more closely, I saw that she wasted no movement. She was careful and deliberate in everything. I also knew many others working in the same place that seemed very busy but got little done. I gained a lot of respect for her, but still could not observe her without getting antsy. Looks can be highly deceiving.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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