Archives for posts with tag: Time and timing

I have appointments today, and timing matters. I reserved a car for the day to simplify things, and knowing I have some baggage around ‘time’ (and timing), I made sure to consider possible twists and complications, and allowed myself what seemed sufficient time.

I woke on time this morning, and quickly departed to pick up the car… The bus I planned to take to the transit center didn’t come. I stood patiently waiting for the next one; I knew I had enough time.

I got to the transit center just prior to the start of my car reservation feeling pretty splendid that I didn’t get stressed out about the bus… No car. I mean, no cars at all, anywhere in the car-share lot. Not good. Timing… I take a deep breath, remind myself I planned for all manner of contingencies, and even allowed myself time to write for a moment, later… (spoiler alert – I’m writing!) I call the car-share service, and they admit that indeed it looks like the car I reserved has not yet been returned (um… I know this…). They phone the person who has the car, and let me know that although that person is not answering their phone, the car ‘is now in motion’. They adjust my reservation and give me a bit of a discount for the inconvenience. I breathe. I wait. The person arrives with the car and drops it off without a word of courtesy or regret. I am reminded of the ‘state the world is in’ and I am not puzzled why. I head on home to shower, dress – and omg, have coffee!

I find myself comfortably back on track, and wondering how many such circumstances over the course of an adult lifetime were needlessly complicated (and matters of time and timing significantly worsened) by having some crazy freak out over being a few minutes later than planned, or some sequence of events being not entirely in the sequence intended, or just having some plan fall completely to pieces resulting in a thoroughly unscripted, spontaneous, wildly different experience? So far, this morning is just fine, complications and all.

I look myself over in the mirror, dressed for the day, feeling myself on the edge of finding fault with all sorts of details that seemed not only satisfactory at some other point, but in some cases actually fulfilling and a bit… awesome. Funny how the bit of stress over time feeds so much discontent, later, and about things so unrelated to time, or each other. It’s something to consider another time.

Oh, right… time. It’s time. Today is a good day to give myself plenty of time – and patience. Today is a good day to be enough. 🙂

I overslept my alarm this morning – or didn’t set it. It doesn’t much matter which; I needed the rest. My particular preference for leisurely mornings built around waking up early and taking my time serve me well here – I still have time to be leisurely. 🙂

Coffee is almost ready…

Like moments, the cup of coffee that matters most is the one in front of me now. :-)

Like moments, the cup of coffee that matters most is the one in front of me now. 🙂

It does mean there is less time for writing, this morning, and this, as a result, means I won’t be taking time to write about the phone call last evening that drove my stress level through the roof for some short time, and disrupted the early hours of my sleep enough that when deep sleep finally did overtake me, my brain and body were willing to disregard the strident wake-up call of my alarm clock in preference for another hour of sleep. That’s okay – I allow for that, simply by making my routine to start my morning so early. There’s just no rush, even this morning. I have time.

Approaching my time management from the perspective that ‘taking my time’ can be done my way – I mean, it is my time, after all – definitely eases the day-to-day stress resulting from small things like ‘being late’. I rarely am. (Unfortunately, when I am, I am at grave risk of serious emotional overload. Yep; being late is a trigger for me. I carry around major baggage about time. How suck is that?? it’s not like time itself is escapable.) Starting the morning with some small measure of leisure allows me to begin each day with less stress associated with time and timing – this is huge for me, as an individual. Your baggage is likely in different life areas, of course…how much simpler if we all shared an identical experience? We’d totally ‘get each other’ more easily…right? (I am doubtful…I seem to depend on a sense of individual identity, and personal autonomy, myself…being human, I would bet you also do.) Identical sameness might be dull, though… and it would be difficult to learn some of life’s valuable lessons, perhaps. I’ve wandered off course, here… Weren’t we talking about time?

It’s morning, just that, and no cause to rush. I sip my coffee and enjoy some moments connecting with my traveling partner, chatting and catching up. It is a work day for us both, and we talk over practical matters: budget details, calendars, what we’re doing this week, next week…planning; the practical matters of the logistics of life are also part of love and loving. I may not find it an easy fit to live with other people 24/7 – but I appreciate, value, and enjoy a good partnership with an adult who shares my values and is an equal. I start the day feeling supported, warmed by affection and good-natured regard. It’s tricky sometimes, but I am also learning to feel those feelings within the relationship I have with myself, day-to-day; a more important detail than I understood it could be, as little as a year ago. Taking time to grow matters, too.

If you don’t like where you are in life, right now, please go somewhere different. You have so much power to choose. Seriously. Yes, of course, there are verbs involved, and emotions to experience, and it isn’t always easy, or pretty, or fun – and yes, sometimes things can seem pretty suck as you go along. Incremental change over time is a thing, though, and it is powerful. What are you practicing? Will it take you farther down the path you choose? Will the outcome of your decisions and your actions be contentment, and perhaps happiness – or are you choosing some other goal, or wandering around with your eyes closed? I’m not judging – I’m just saying. Choice is powerful. Practice is powerful. Taking your time with change is powerful – and all of it is power that rests in your own hands, your own heart… are you ready to slow down, take the time you need, and grab a verb? 🙂

Tomorrow – or perhaps tonight – I will share the Parable of the Small Boy Waiting, and the story of a phone call. There’s time for that. Time isn’t infinite…but I’ve got right now. Today is a good day to be here, to be engaged, to be present in the moment. I’m okay right now.

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.

Taking a moment to observe and experience life unplanned, unscripted, and unafraid is worth 'being late'; it is living life.

Taking a moment to observe and experience life unplanned, unscripted, and unafraid is worth ‘being late’; it is living life.

…And I’m okay with enjoying this feeling and not analyzing it more.

Progress, moment by moment, day by day, like a flower blooming its own way, in its own time.

Progress, moment by moment, day by day, like a flower blooming its own way, in its own time.

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.

So many opportunities, so many decision-making moments, making choice about time can be very limiting.

So many opportunities, so many decision-making moments, making choice about time can be very limiting. Today is a good day to choose ‘now’.

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.

 

I woke early this morning, filled with a sense of purpose, and slightly concerned I might have ‘overslept’. It was 6:00 am. I didn’t feel rushed, but I also didn’t want to, so I remained committed to the purposeful moment, and moved through my morning routine contentedly. It was the start of an excellent Monday… only… today is Sunday.

I’m still contented; early mornings don’t distress me. I slept well after a couple difficult nights, and a day of illness, and feeling both well-rested and ‘well’, it is a lovely morning thus far.

I took time to meditate, and my yoga practice felt relaxed and deep, and I was patient with myself. I enjoyed the satisfaction of doing a couple new asanas with fluidity and grace, having practiced them enough now to be able to do them without refreshing my memory immediately before doing them.  One of my partners had been pointing out how much bad posture was also causing elevated stress (through physical discomfort) and I added a couple of asanas to my yoga sequence specifically to help improve my posture, overall. It’s been helping. I also got my eyes checked – because by far the most common scenario for my bad posture is ‘hunched over the computer/my laptop’.  I did indeed need new glasses.  Just knowing my eyesight is a factor in my posture, and thus my pain and stress levels, I adjusted my settings on my laptop so that everything is a tad bigger and easier to read. 5 years ago, having to take such an action would have peeved me for days, and caused me to feel very blue over ‘aging’. This year, it was really a pretty matter-of-fact thing, without stress. Why wouldn’t I take advantage of the user preference settings in my own computer to suit my current needs? Anything else would be…ridiculous. I’m eager to have my new glasses, too.

Somewhen during this morning’s meditation, thoughts of road signs [on life’s journey] and highlight reels [of life’s important moments] drifted through my consciousness. I observed them, as words and ideas, and let them drift on by. They lingered in the background, wanting to be considered later, and here I am considering them.

It would be pretty convenient if life did have ‘road signs’, wouldn’t it? “Abrupt Change Ahead” for life’s unexpected challenges, perhaps, or “Caution: Slow Self ” for those groggy mornings? We try so hard to benefit from the wisdom of others, and with such limited success, sometimes. Is that a lack of trust? Is it a lack of understanding that the experiences of others may be truly relevant to our own? Is it a misplaced sense of our uniqueness to the detriment of our similarities? Is it a lack of will competing with the possibility that even those acts or qualities that do not serve us well, may serve us somehow? I find myself wondering if I can somehow imagine those ‘missing road signs’ as I experience my now – by inserting a gentle “Yield” sign in those moments of stress before escalation, or a bold “Stop” sign in that breath before saying just the wrong thing? If I could, would I mind them or disregard them? That got me wondering… am I a ‘good citizen’ in my own experience? I suspect that last one could easily amount to an entire day’s thinking…

Highlight Reels are something totally different, but still somehow potentially instructive and cautionary. I often explore a montage of relevant memories when I tackle life’s curriculum. New lessons often prove to be significantly less ‘new’ than I experience them to be initially, and there is value in considering prior opportunities to have applied the lesson facing me, as well as considering what future opportunities there may be.  There is also value in contemplating past successes – with precisely what I am learning, and things that are quite different in some way.

When do those ‘road signs’ become paralyzing anxiety? When do ‘highlight reels’ become self-deprecatory or punishing rumination full of futility and despair?  If the most useful question is not ‘when?’… what is it?

Not even a thousand words, and no pictures, and I notice the morning wearing on gently. It’s 8:00 am, and although it is a Sunday, I hear a partner making coffee in the kitchen. This morning’s words are more words in a recreational way than words with any urgently serious intention. Casual words. Reflective words. Neither road signs nor highlights – just words.  I will set them aside, and return to the immediate and beautiful ‘now’. 🙂

Today I am compassionate. Today I am content. Today I am changing the world. Sundays are good days for change.