Archive for November, 2013

Are You a Caterpillar Running Around the Rim of a Jar?

November 6, 2013

We live in a busy world. We hurry, hurry, hurry to do things and sometimes, we work ourselves into a state of frenzy and weariness, only to find that we have not really accomplished anything! Most of us realize that the more we work, the more we will achieve; but the problem lies in our inability to recognize the difference between being productive and just being busy.

I once read of a scientist who placed a caterpillar on the rim of a jar and watched as it ran around and around the rim until it finally dropped into the jar out of sheer exhaustion. I cannot imagine why this person decided that this would be a good experiment, and I feel that the poor caterpillar got the short end of the stick in that deal. But the message is clear: running around in circles is pointless and it accomplishes nothing but exhaustion.

We are a culture which promotes the idea that to appear successful; a person must work extended hours, take on too many obligations, deprive him or herself of rest and relaxation, burn the candle at both ends, and above all, live in perpetual stress. We are not machines and we certainly don’t want to become like the caterpillar that fell into the jar.

Sometimes, I think I wear my stress like a badge of courage; as if endangering my health and sanity is a thing worthy of praise. Ding dong…that is wrong. I don’t think I am alone in this, either. It’s as if we feel embarrassed or guilty if we stop and recuperate every now and again. Just listen to a group of people coming out of an office or gathered in an airport. You will hear a “stress-a-thon” competition; everyone claims to be more stressed than all of the others. The problem with this is that if you work yourself to death, just to prove that you are strong and capable of juggling too many obligations, everyone else will say, “She should have taken better care of herself!” It is a losing situation!

Remember that there is a time for work and a time for rest; just as there is a time for salad and a time for a big chocolate sundae with whipped cream and nuts. But that is another topic for another time.