I woke feeling a sense of urgency-not-quite-dread that nearly launched me from my bed at high speed, and that my always helpful brain tried to frame up as ‘feeling purposeful’ straight away, no doubt to keep me moving along productively. My alarm woke me, which is rare. Rarer still, it didn’t wake me immediately, and the strident beeping was likely what caused me to wake in overdrive. Even after stopping myself, slowing down, doing some calming breath work and yoga, I got through my morning routine to the point at which I have coffee and email in front of me in an impressive 13 minutes. (No, I didn’t ‘time it’, I just checked the clock when I grabbed my coffee.) I’m not celebrating that as any sort of achievement; I’m not in the Army, there is no urgent crisis requiring timely action this morning, and I am not ‘running late’. In fact… I may never be ‘running late’ ever again…
I do have a ‘complicated relationship with time’. That’s how I’ve framed up my issues with it, lately. Before I started down the path of being more mindful and taking care of me, I referred to it as ‘The Time Thing’. It was a very big, very ugly, very problematic deal with me. Being late, especially if caused through no action of my own, and unavoidably circumstantial, could set me off on a screaming tirade, real fury and rage, on this utterly inappropriate level that isn’t really describable with words. I wore, at one point in my late 20s, multiple wrist watches, carefully set to the same time. I was quietly compulsive about time and timing, and any suggestion that a work task was particularly time-sensitive could set me off taking time & motion data for days until I stripped the task down to its most pure elements, and mastered the timing completely for a more predictable experience.
Yep. I have a complicated relationship with time. It hasn’t been as bad as all that for a long while, but planning things remains pretty critical to my every day experience, and although I’m damned adaptable in the face of plans deviating from reality – because they nearly always do – I still experience pretty significant stress from small things like being a few minutes late. (I’m salaried, but in spite of that I walk into the office each day at a very predictable time, with little deviation, quite as a matter of practice, rather than effort.) Many of my other behaviors around habits, routines, and productivity build off my issues with time, and timeliness.
I may be done with that. (I may not be.) This morning, over my coffee and my Facebook feed, someone linked an article with a headline that caught my attention. “The Day I Stopped Saying Hurry Up” I rarely expect an article to resonate with me on this level. We lose so much when we hurry. Why do I keep doing it? Why all the stress over a moment in time that is not now? Isn’t the first most important thing right now always right now, itself? Find my moment? I’m standing on it. Suddenly, I feel so free. Has the burden of Time been that heavy for so long? I’m not saying I want to be late for work, but I think I’m okay with leaving late, early, or at some moment on the clock that isn’t pre-selected.
…And I’m okay with enjoying this feeling and not analyzing it more.
I enjoy planning things. Learning the how-to of not over-investing in a specific outcome releases planning from its future job assignment of ‘driving stress’, too, and leaves the fun of planning with the planning, allowing anticipation to be a lovely enjoyable experience all its own. I enjoy anticipation. I dislike disappointment. The only thing connecting those experiences is attachment to an outcome. Learning to plan without attachment to the outcome is an interesting exercise in mindfully balancing past experience with potential experience, and preparing for what could be, while enjoying what is. I’m obviously still thinking about attachment, and clinging, and how much I lose when I let go of ‘now’ and immerse myself in what isn’t, more than what is. I’d like to become very skilled at letting go of attachment, and still loving, still feeling, still exploring compassion and joy.
Each ‘now’ moment is so incredibly precious.
Another work week begins. The weekend was not without its highs and lows. I could be unhappy that I didn’t go hiking yesterday… or delighted that I had such a lovely quiet Sunday and got so much done, and enjoyed my leisure time in other ways; the Farmer’s Market, a pleasant walk, Chinese food for dinner. I could be blue because of some mistake or misstep or other, and bemoan my essential humanity and how much work it takes to do my best and be this amazing woman I am becoming…or I can celebrate the being and becoming of this amazing woman I am growing to be over time, and the unspeakable joy life sometimes brings me now. I could fuss frustratedly that the moments of love and connection with my partners are so few some days…or be grateful to love so well, and be loved in return, when so many don’t have that opportunity at all, through circumstances, or the choices they make. Perspective matters.
Today is a good day for a fresh start. Today is a good day for choices that meet my needs over time. Today is a good day for acceptance, compassion, and kindness. Today, the most important thing is right now.