Busy, The Devil’s Playground


My father infamously created projects to keep my brother, sister and me busy in the summer time. Was plucking chickens a good life lesson? I can almost conjure up the nose-flaring stench today. Pew. The smell when one singes feathers off is truly distinctive, unforgettable.

In our eulogies at Dad’s funeral, my brother and I shared some Dad’s-crazy-project-tales. We mused that Dad completely bought into the biblical saying, “idle minds are the devil’s playground.” We divided up the stories, my brother and I, to make sure we both got laughs: Raising geese for Christmas dinner; Picking a field-full of jalapenos; Sawing wood to last all winter…and more.

The funniest parts of these make-work-to-keep-kids-busy projects?

  • Geese can be vicious creatures. They’re able to chase and peck with lightening speed. I’d arm myself with a tennis racket and practice my forehand when it was my turn to feed them. No one in our family—except Dad—actually liked to ingest geese so the leftovers eventually went to the dogs.
  • Burning mouth syndrome. Dad said “don’t eat them” so I promptly stuffed a couple jalapenos in my mouth—in the middle of the field—and ran faster than Usain Bolt to get to a water spigot. (This, somehow, was Dad’s fault.)
  • You sawed off my fingers. Fortunately, when Dad chain-sawed the fingers off the glove I was wearing I got excused from the wood-cutter assistant role for the rest of the “let’s have a fire every night” season.

Dad got a lot right, even if his methods were sometimes smelly and once in a while a bit dangerous. Keeping one’s self from the idle mind/devil’s playground can be a good thing—to a point.

As an adult, if you’re keeping yourself busy, busy, busy to avoid letting your mind run free to create, imagine, or simply reflect, busy may have become the devil’s playground that is preventing you from a life of joy, awe, and gratitude.

Get Idle, #BanBusy

This week, carve out some space to have what may initially feel like an “idle mind.”

Take an afternoon, an hour, or a block of 15 minutes and do a Tibetan monk impersonation. Detach from the “busy” and material things (especially TV, your smartphone, your computer).

Give yourself permission to meditate, create, or contemplate how you may serve others—and yourself—better. Heck, just daydream.

Breathe. Focus on that breath.

Consciously choose to let go of the belief that idle is the opposite of busy.

At least once a week, #BanBusy. Your body, mind, spirit, workmates and loved ones will be so very glad.

Please, don’t make me come get you with a goose.



  1. Amie Lapp Payne says:

    THANK YOU and AMEN! I needed (ok, still NEED) this right now!

    • You are in lots of good company, Amie! Very much hope you make time for YOUR Tibetan monk impersonation this week and every week! Big hugs, Jone

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sign up now to receive articles, tips and inspiration right in your inbox!
We will never share, rent, or sell your personal information or email address.
Never display this again
Find us on Google+