What is time?
What is it time for?
What if you’re late?
What if you miss out completely?
What’s your hurry?
What is wasting time?
What is the impact when the day melts away?
Lately I’ve been wrestling with time. Yes, that’s right. Time. In the midst of whatever I am doing (or not doing), I notice an internal struggle, a war in my thoughts. Even as I’ve chosen, for example, to write this blog post, and am trying to be with you and write something meaningful, there is another train of thought suggesting that I should be doing something else, that if I don’t get busy on that, I will not arrive there in time. If that doesn’t happen this week, I will have forever lost an opportunity.
Here’s the thing. Those thoughts are stealing energy from the task at hand.
Does this ever happen in you?
If so, I want to offer a perspective that is helping me:
Time is arbitrary.
It is a fact that every 24 hours we experience day and night. We further group these “24 hour sequences” into months and years, decades and lifetimes. We have organized our lives around these divisions of this thing called time. Then we stress ourselves out because there is never enough of it. And some of us beat ourselves up for wasting it. Yet, time itself is a manufactured idea of mankind to help bring about order to this thing called life. And, to some extent, it is critical and helpful. I choose to organize my life around day and night. I value sunshine and sleep!
[Author’s note: I have attempted to complete this post several times. Each time I get stuck. I don’t know how to share concisely, simply, directly this idea that is so very powerful to me! I will try, one more time. Forgive me if this post gets long. But if you are stressed out by time, please consider continuing. Okay?]
Recall the large “arc of your life”, the purpose that drives you. For example:
My purpose is to serve others from love and compassion
and treat myself with love and compassion along the way.
Note the ways in which you are living your purpose in this phase of your life:
- I will retire in ten years but for now I choose to work at this job which supports the family
- I vision my children as successful, loving, caring adults and am doing my best to foster this through my parenting
- My goal is to write a book from my life’s learning about love and compassion
Come back to this day and note what truly must get done and let go the rest:
- Get to work on time, ready to do your best, then do it
- Show your children love and respect while helping them prepare for this school day, see them off and be present with them in the evening hours.
- Writing your book? Maybe today you write for 10 minutes. Maybe you simply pay close attention to this life you are living.
Finally, come back to the task at hand or the child in front of you. Forget time. Fully immerse yourself in whatever is here now. Look your child in the eye and speak aloud, “We will need to be ready to go at 7:30, but for right now, I am here to listen.” Then sit down, hug that child, and listen. At work, clear your desk of everything except the project at hand. If it helps, set an alarm for the time you have for this project then let go of everything else and focus.
What happens when you stop worrying about time?
What is possible when you are fully present now?
What relationship to time serves you?