Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I heard a new word coined today ... "Administrivia". It was presented as a way of describing the many minute detail-oriented tasks which managers and other bureaucrats often spend whole days doing. And it was discussed in the context of a team focusing on the most effective ways to manage transition, or "How to make friends with CHANGE", if you will.

Administrivia. All of us have found ourselves lost in it, maybe even overwhelmed by it from time to time. In our work lives, in our homes, our families... even in the realm of personal care it is not hard to give in to the demands of the little details, the trivia of our days. Administrivia has its rewards, as we check off another item from that "to do" list, as we are applauded for our organizational skill, as we hide in the safety of the everyday mundane. It feels good.

But it is also a particular kind of trap. When we lose ourselves in administrivia, our vision narrows down to a tunnel of trivia, while whole, expansive vistas go by us unnoticed. Abundant life gets squeezed into the leftover time, the space between the lines on the list. Poetry, art, contemplation, conversations which enrich and nourish the soul have no home within us. And what looked like competence is revealed for busyness, what seemed to be impressive importance turns out to be mere puffery. David Whyte put it this way, "Moses' revelation [at the burning bush] was not the immediate shock of hearing God's voice from the bush, but the moment he looked down and realized not only that he stood in God's presence, but that he had been standing in that presence all of his life."

So it is with all of us. We are standing on holy ground - in the very presence of the Divine - all of our lives. And the only way we will have eyes to see it, hearts to embrace it and courage to live it, is if we somehow give up the attachment to our administrivia, once and for all.

1 comment:

  1. My new favorite word - administrivia. Happy Easter.
    love, Susan