Sunday 11 May 2008

Hurry Sickness

As a mother, working or not, it seems our work is truly never done. Meals, baths, bedtime, housework, cuddle-time, prayers, school run, activities, trips to the shops, library, doctor, visiting, entertaining gests. Even our hobbies and leisure time become things to do, do, do.

Our mothers worked and often did not have time to themselves when their children were small, but I don’t recall them being frantic or manic in their busy-ness. Their free time didn’t seem to be for crafts, catching up on reading, catching up on phone calls, just doing things. It seems that they spent more of their precious free time doing…nothing; just chatting, napping or putting their feet up.

I think we have a strange need to DO something all of the time, I think this is a symptom of modern living which places our value too much in what we do and not enough in who we are. So to feel like valid human beings we chase after things – cars, houses, qualification, praise until we are exhausted, and then chase some more.

This contrasts strongly with what Islam teaches us. You may earn a lot of money, have a big house and lots of qualifications. You may have many skills and talents and do lots of different things, but the things that weighs the heaviest in the sigh of Allah is good character.

I think the second mode of thinking has so much more peace in it, it feels like a healthier option when considering how we should choose to live. In celebration of this new healthier perspective on life I think you should join me in getting a very good book, some chocolate and spending the day in bed with the kids.

“Like compulsive eating, hurry sickness and compulsive effort don’t resolve the underlying feelings that motivate them either. We keep on hurrying or doing because of inner anxiety, but our activity only dissipates the anxiety temporarily. And over the long run it actually aggravates the anxiety. Like other addicts, we need to acknowledge the reality of our pain and fear and allow ourselves to feel them. We also need to own our responsibility for our fear and pain, and instead of reacting to them, learn ho to transform them”. ~ Ingrid Bacci, the Art of Effort Living.


  1. Anonymous12 May, 2008

    Oh! What a cord you have touched Umm Salihah ... !!!
    I too, when have some free time dont seem to sit back and enjpy my leisure time, I always find some work to do, which again tires me and i get horrible mood-swings ... !!!!
    I mean, Why cant i just sit and RELAX .... Am i abnormal or what ???


  2. Assalam-alaikam Maryam,
    No I don't think you're abnormal, I think the demands of modern society are abnormal and unrealistic and they don't let us stop, which is a shame because sometimes our best ideas come in day-dreams and during rest. Children use quiet time doing nothing to assimilate and think about what they learn. There's a lot to be said for doing nothing!!