Time. What’s your relationship with it? Does it rule your every move or are you in control? Do you think it’s real (in other words finite), or do you think that’s just our perception? And, like me, have you ever pondered whether there isn’t actually an inexhaustible supply, and the limits we put on it are our own illusion? Or, do you believe (consciously or unconsciously) that if we continue to chase it, we’ll either harness it or at least get to its beginning so that we can finally relax and partake of its elusive benefits?
For years (before I got to pondering), I was part of the majority, the “chase it till you get it” camp. I thought time was never on my side as there were never enough hours in the day, the week, the month or the year…to do the things I had to do, let alone wanted to do. Because I believed time equaled a short leash, I acted accordingly.
I was addicted to squeezing the juice out of every minute but not to savor them. Instead, I marched feverishly to the beat of time’s fleeting drum and never stopped to smell the roses, feel the earth, or allow myself to actually beat in rhythm with life itself. Like so many others, I lived according to the call of the outer “doing” forces, rush, hurry, and never enough, rather than listen to the inner pulses of “being” which are comprised of infinite moments, sweet pauses, and milliseconds of joy.
And like everyone else who is always on the clock, always gasping for air, always meeting self-imposed deadlines, always creating another list, always trying to fit it all in, always racing to the next appointment and invariably always putting pleasure last…I wasn’t happy or healthy. The harder I worked, the faster I ran, the more I accomplished, the less I had. Tilt!
Never-the-less, like everyone else I kept wringing out “just one more hour” for “just one more thing” that once accomplished promised the elusive reward of more time (measured in money, sleep, fun, relaxation, spiritual awareness, success, satisfaction, inner peace, family richness, physical well-being, self-development, etc.), which only brought me more of the same…the illusion of never having enough time!
Like a hamster on a wheel, I believed I was getting somewhere, only to look up and realize I was in the same place, out of breath, tired and numb. But this was the only zone I knew, and even though it was painfully unfulfilling, chasing time had become a default position so I stayed on the wheel.
After all, the stakes kept getting higher… biological clocks ticked, retirement loomed, financial success nagged, professional goals taunted, unrealized creative expression ached, gifts and abilities pushed, purpose and passion beckoned, and long-held heart’s desires all competed against one another racing the clock to be the one to finally outrun time so that I could have time to enjoy any of it.
And there’s the rub! While I achieved many of the things I thought I wanted/needed during those endless years of effort and energy, paradoxically, I had no idea how to enjoy them because I didn’t think I had time. On top of that, I was exhausted and had no energy left for the rewards.
I had become a beast of burden, slave to carrying my own load of “have tos and in order tos”. I was so far out in front of myself that I had lost myself. Operating within the so-called boundaries of time (i.e. we only have so much/so long etc.) kept me trapped in its fear-fueled illusion of lack, stripping me of my innate ability to be in the present, knowing time as eternal (kairos vs chronos), receiving those gifts.
I know that seems like an oxymoron in a world wedded to 24/7, a world that for the most part believes eternal time only comes with death, but here’s the good news, the opposite is true. Yes! Eternal time is now…you don’t have to wait. Trust me, there’s always enough time… but in order to experience it you have to get off the hamster wheel. But, here’s the bad news, as we are creatures of habit this can be a bit of a challenge.
So here are some of the tried and true things I did (and still do) to get off the wheel and break the spell that time waits for no one…
- stopped wearing a watch
- never set an alarm
- meditate before my feet hit the ground in the morning
- threw away my lists
- actually smell roses
- learned to ask for help and then taught myself to receive it
- became a wonder junkie (i.e. through the eyes of a child)
- began to do things I’d always wanted to but never found the time to
- began to set my hyper-responsible self free
- surrendered to ‘what is’ and let go over and over and over
- learned to love myself and what that really means
- took time to listen to my body and meet its needs
- started to nourish my spirit
- gave up warp speed and learned to trust the flow
- threw away my superwoman cape
- cultivated kairos rather than chronos
- painstakingly allowed myself time to relax
- lovingly reassigned my ego mind jobs of joy
- gave up being so damned punctual
As I began to slow down, I realized what I had really been racing time for all those years was internal peace. And, I found it not through conquering time, but through understanding time as a continuum of which we are all a part. Time isn’t outside of us, the face on a clock, the months on a calendar, the wrinkles in our skin, or the years on our driver’s license. It runs through us, a fertile river of endless treasures that we have only to let carry and feed us.
In the past ten days I have experienced this river at its most poignant. In the nexus of time, I held my newborn granddaughter, Emerson Georgia Baratoff, as the river, of which we are all a part, baptized us over and over with its infinite gifts, her four weeks, me sixty-seven years. In this timelessness we shared the heartbeat of life, connected and forged our bond.
Effortlessly we flowed with the river as it met our needs…She ate, slept, pooped, burped, cried, cooed, smiled (for the first time), listened and stared in wonder at everything around her. I did pretty much the same. Without agenda, urgency, timetables, lists or fears she knew she had plenty of everything she needed and always would.
Emerson was (and is) living the magical power of right now and made sure I was too. She reminded me over and over, “Today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” May the magic of now always be with you too!