“I feel like I’m in molasses,” I told my friend.

“Are you okay?” he said.

“Yes,” I said. “I’ll figure it out. ”

“I feel like I’m in molasses,” I told another friend.

He thought a bit. “There are seasons.” he said. “There are times when doing isn’t what you are supposed to be doing. There are times for being.”

I waited for him to finish the sentence. I smiled. “You put a period there, didn’t you,” I said.

He nodded.

We’ve talked before, my friend and I, about how much time we put into doing things. I had just talked with him about being addicted to doing good, the idea that we can be consumed by doing good things for the buzz they give us, for the rush we feel in helping people. Even when we should be resting, we are active. Talking, reading, finishing one more thing, helping one more person, taking on one more good project.

And thus, when I have this sense of moving slowly, limbs and brain ensnared in stickiness, I think that something must be wrong. I need to work harder, manage time better, get more focused.

But what if the metaphor is wrong? What if moving faster, working hard, only gets me more mired in molasses, like Paddington Bear and the marmalade. What if Richard is right about seasons and a better metaphor is one from my friend Becky. She suggested some questions for looking at things as a farmer would (thanks to Becky)

  • Are you ripping out the old plants?
  • Are you between crops?
  • Are you planting?
  • Are you weeding?
  • Are you watering and waiting?
  • Are you harvesting?

So maybe, when we think we’re in molasses, we are actually in that season between crops, when being productive means simply being.

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