Try to imagine a life without timekeeping. You probably can’t. You know the month, the year, the day of the week. There is a clock on your wall or the dashboard of your car. You have a schedule, a calendar, a time for dinner or a movie. Yet all around you, timekeeping is ignored. Birds are not late. A dog does not check it’s watch. Deer do not fret over passing birthdays. Man alone measures time. Man alone chimes the hour. And, because of this man alone suffers a paralyzing fear that no other creature endures. A fear of time running out. – Mitch Albom, The Time Keeper.
I’ve set myself the almost (at times) insurmountable task of being a (mostly) daily blogger. However impossible this seems, I’ve achieved seven-plus years at my keyboard, writing posts for ‘The Ville’ first, and then ‘Yoga Suits Her’.
I used to blog in the evening, but, sadly, some nights I would sit at my computer and nothing would come into my heard. Eventually, I would start clicking away, but all-up, a post could take 90 minutes or more to write.
With my nighttime writing, I felt the oppression of time running out, as in the above quote. I didn’t want to have to stay up late writing when I could be doing more fun activities, like reading a book or doing a cryptic crossword puzzle. It took me a while before I learned that what I needed to do was get a hold of myself and choose to be doing what I was doing. Choosing made all the difference because I not longer felt powerless.
It’s amazing what can happen in the act of choosing. To get over that time-is-running-out feeling at the end of the day, I realised I could start posting during the daytime. As I’m semi-retired, I keep imagining that I have lots of time. However, if I don’t manage it, I can feel as stressed out and impossibly busy as a full-time worker.
It’s not that keeping track of time in and of itself is oppressive. It’s being a victim of it. A girlfriend of mine told me about a way she discovered to change her relationship with time.
Jenny is a yoga teacher. She kept giving herself a hard time as she went through repeated periods of stressed-out busyness, followed by getting sick or collapsing from fatigue. Finally, she decided that what she needed to do more of was ‘take her own sweet time’.
Like a lot of simple notions, it’s not easy to go more slowly. It might mean stepping out of the strong pull of a current that’s not even yours to find your own rhythm. Or, saying no to activities that will push you over your energetic limits. Or, breaking a lifelong habit of feeling things are urgent even when they aren’t.
Yoga practice is a good place to try on new attitudes. If you’d like to improve your relationship with time, perhaps you can give yourself an opportunity on a weekend when you set aside ‘empty time’ for your yoga – with no agenda and completely open-ended. It could be a somewhat scary act, but, on the other hand, it could offer a new-found freedom that spills over into the rest of your life.