Archives for posts with tag: time

I hear it a lot. I say it too often. “I just don’t have time for…” and it’s nearly always followed by a statement of some activity or experience the person saying it really really wants to have.

“I don’t have time to read.”

“I don’t have time to paint.”

“I don’t have time to go to festivals.”

“I don’t have time to grow my own food in my garden.”

“I don’t have time to get my hair/nails done.”

“I don’t have time to go on vacation.”

“I don’t have time to learn a language.”

“I don’t have time to learn how to build that.”

“I don’t have time for travel.”

The time we lack? Okay, so adulthood is definitely busy with other agendas than my own, I admit that. I don’t have unrestricted use of my own time, which definitely sucks, and I admit that, too. Where I part company with the “no time” objections – even my own – is that I’m right here, right now, on the Internet, the most vast and deep time suck of humanity ever devised. How much time do I get back, if I shut down the internet? I suspect most of us do actually have time – more time than we make a point to enjoy willfully, for sure.

…All that time spent scrolling through feeds… I’d get that back.

…All that time spent on online shopping… I’d get that back, too.

…All that time spent on brain candy (videos and movies)… I’d even get that back.

It easily adds up to hours, even in a single day (as much as 6 hours, many days). All that time is actually my own, to use as I please, to spend as I wish, to enjoy with – or without – a purpose in mind. Why the fuck am I wasting it in this hapless fashion? Whose idea was this, and how did it become my habit?

I watch this video again. I think about it more.

…It’s time I take back my time. Again. 🙂

The evening is a quiet one. I arrived home at the end of a busy day with a headache, which has slowly become irrelevant, ignored in the background; my back aches much more. All evening my awareness has bounced between the two. I laid down for a while with the headache. The backache got me up some time later. Yoga eased the backache somewhat. The headache became more prominent. I had a bite of dinner, and meditated later, and found that my headache was substantially eased. I am now most aware of the backache. I’m not bitching, just noticing, being aware, and taking time to monitor these states without judgment, providing myself with whatever symptomatic relief is available, and doing what I can to make the most of the evening nonetheless. It’s a lovely quiet one.

I am enjoying the evening doing quiet things, and making a point to embrace the softer sounds, and the peaceful stillness. It is rare for things to be so entirely quiet, and I find myself wondering if it is the new windows; I don’t hear the traffic. The wall clock in the kitchen, a recent addition, ticks off the seconds quite audibly. It wasn’t long ago I would not have been able to bear the ceaseless ticking reminding me of time slipping away…precious…finite… The quiet tick-tick-tick no longer resonates with finality. It’s just a quiet tick that indicates nothing more or less than the movement, in increments, of the second-hand on a man-made mechanical device that measures time in arbitrarily selected units devised by human beings for record-keeping, communication, and convenience. That quiet ticking has no relevance to my subjective experience of time. The clock does not control me. It’s a nice feeling… I don’t know when I got here. (I wasn’t watching a clock at the time, I guess. lol)

I find myself favoring a different approach to time than I did when I was younger. Relative to subjective experience in the moment, the only time that is ‘finite’ is the time that has already happened, and become ‘the past’; my future, as yet uncreated and only imagined, is entirely infinite and limited only by my imagination itself… And my present? Also infinite – infinitely now – and utterly continuous, and also a series of tiny singular moments that quickly become experienced, and past. In my thinking of it, time isn’t so different from light…sometimes a wave…sometimes particles…sometimes science…sometimes poetry. I mean, sure, I am mortal (as far as I know) and someday I’ll die – I guess at that point I will, myself, pass from the present and into the past, but from my perspective, what then? Will I even continue to know time? I have no particular thoughts on the subject of ‘things after death’, and no answers, no conclusions, no expectations, or assumptions; I am comfortable with accepting that there are both things that are known and things that are unknown…about most things.

I didn’t have any particular notions when I sat down to write. It’s hard to think past this headache, even to notice the ticking clock. Oh, hey. The headache is back. The backache isn’t so bad, though; this chair is pretty comfortable backache-wise.

What time is love?

What time is love?

I find myself just sitting, fingers poised over the keyboard, thinking over my recent conversations with my traveling partner, and feeling secure, compassionate, understanding, and very much in love. For a few minutes neither the headache nor the backache have much to say to me, while love fills my thoughts. I smile, half wondering how is it that I love this particular human being so very much, the way I do? I am not concerned with troubleshooting love.  I am grateful to enjoy any measure of sentiment so profound; it’s a complicated journey, and the good bits are so splendid in good company – the bad bits far easier to endure when shared. I noticed time passing at some point. It wasn’t the clock; my traveling partner hits send on a moment of love on his end, and my reverie ends with a smile renewed when I see the emoji pop up, a brief distraction that is no distraction at all. Love comes first.

Be love, if you can, I remind myself; it’s 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.

Or…let go. Either way, your call. We’re each having our own experience. (I say that a lot.) This morning is one such customized, personalized, choice-defined, observation-limited, individual experience. I’m having it now. So are you.

A picture of a moment; evening at the train station.

A picture of a moment; evening at the train station.

It’s a lovely quiet morning after a very pleasant evening. My traveling partner cooked dinner last night; his cooking is very good, and I was fortunate to arrive home in time to share the evening meal with both my partners. My work hours often get in the way of that simple joy, and that is a recognized trade-off so many of us make in adulthood; we give up some small pleasure in order to convert more of our limited precious mortal time into… cash. That’s really all a job is for many of us – it’s a way to convert time into cash money using effort and skill to make the exchange ‘fair’ (in theory). Looked at that way, it’s so important that we not be wasting our most precious, most finite personal resource on something that doesn’t support our basic needs, or something that is a bad (or hurtful) experience, or even simply one we don’t enjoy. When the pay off is good, it’s sometimes hard to remember to choose to treat myself well, and make choices that truly meet my needs over time. That surprises me a little, thinking about that challenge in light of the observation that employment is basically a conversion process of turning my time into money…because that would mean that every cent in value I am paid was already mine – in time, and the potential to make use of it – and the exchange rate may  not be that fair, considering how precious time actually is, for each of us.

Something to think about; I matter to me. The time I ‘spend’ on someone else’s needs (particularly for their profit) needs to be truly worth it to me; I can’t get the time back. Every minute ‘spent’ is simply gone…and I’m not exactly keeping a budget. Have I balanced my ‘checkbook’ and made sure I know where my time is going?

Metaphors – just one more way I entertain myself while I learn. 😉

I read a friend’s manuscript last weekend. I’m fortunate to be asked to do such a favor – not only because it was an exciting read, and I enjoyed it, but also because it inspired me on another level.  As I was walking to work yesterday, a character developed in my thoughts, her experience began to draft itself, her history and family began to become ‘real’, and a plot started to gel in my imagination. Manuscripts, though, are a bit like unfinished sentences; most of them stay that way. Unfinished. (I have a decent beginning of a novel somewhere in my files… never finished. lol) This, though, feels different… So, I made some notes yesterday, and this weekend I’ll do some research to flesh out the bits that need that attention. I may even write. Sometime down the road I may even finish it. 🙂

My coffee is slowly growing cold. I don’t have more to say this morning, really. I’m in a lot of pain this week and it sends my thoughts skittering away from deeper subjects, as often as it pulls me into sorrows. Meditation is both helpful and difficult. Yoga, the same; nearly necessary for freedom of movement, slow going, and although worth it, quite difficult. Words are easy, but I don’t seem to have so many this morning…

Today is a good day to take care of me, and a good day to consider the discomfort of others, too. Today is a good day to enjoy small pleasures and a to take a moment to really value them. Today is a good day to hear compliments, and enjoy them with humility and gratitude.  Today is a good day to cherish my skills, my experience, and my decision-making, most of which serve me well, much of the time. Today is a good day for enough, and a good day for contentment. Today is a good day to change the world.

I woke early this morning, ahead of the alarm clock by an hour or a bit more. It was an unexpectedly nice opportunity for connecting with a partner in the wee hours for a few precious minutes. Love doesn’t mind the clock.

The remainder of the morning, thus far, has been spent in meditation and study, quietly, gently, enjoying the stillness; except for that one bit when I whacked the back of my wrist against the corner of my desk somehow. Ouch. (It had that ‘blow to the funny bone’ feel to  it.) This morning I have been contemplating the nature of time. I haven’t meant to, it’s just what my brain latched on to when I wrapped up meditation. You see, it’s been an incredibly chill and restorative weekend for me. The subjective feeling of it is even that it was ‘a long weekend’ of painting, hanging out, and some shared evening time with partners watching videos (science shows and Archer), although it has been the ordinary 2-day sort. It’s been quite delightful, and an extraordinary way to prepare for the very busy workweek to come.

This weekend I took care of me, and managed to meet most of my needs for myself. It’s been an exceptional taste of emotional self-sufficiency. Powerful. Something clicked recently, and I’m enjoying the outcome of that. I hope, and intend, to continue to invest in the practices, choices, and changes that are proving to be such a powerful win for me over time.

"Summer Afternoon" and a lovely weekend to paint.

“Summer Afternoon” and a lovely weekend to paint.

I spent much of the weekend painting. It is a whole different magnitude of change in quality of life for me, as an artist, to have space to paint – not just room to do so when I take time to clear space, set up, work on a few pieces, tear it all down and put it away for next time; the difference is in having dedicated space to paint, and to work creatively. Now I know what I was yearning for, and having it, I now really understand why it matters so much. It’s a realization that feels a bit like the tail end of a South Park episode; the point at which Kenny delivers his short monologue that begins “I learned something today…”  I learned something this weekend; I need space to paint, and it is an emotional need, the meeting of which improves my quality of life enormously. It’s a practical understanding of myself, too; I’ll never again shop for housing the same way, for example, because I’ll be looking for ‘space to paint’ in a non-negotiable way, any time it comes up in the future.

The days of this weekend were much more ‘timeless’ than a typical weekend. I rarely looked at a clock, and the days seemed long and leisurely. Is it a byproduct of investing in doing what I love, and taking care of me without stress or worry? What slowed the hands of the clock this weekend? Whatever it was, I’m grateful for the wonderful weekend, invested in taking care of me. Bringing mindfulness practices to the realm of my emotional life, and my emotional needs, doesn’t come naturally to me, yet; I practice attentively, and with discipline and commitment. Sometimes it feels vaguely ‘forced’, and I find myself fighting old programming that says my needs don’t matter. Every moment of that battle is so worth it; this weekend was a small ‘payout’, a return on investment, and I feel recharged and refreshed.

...Because I don't do cross stitch. :-D

…Because I don’t do cross stitch. 😀

Today is a good day for beginnings. Today is a good day to be the woman I most want to be. Today is a good day to embrace change. Today is a good day to savor each precious moment, to connect, and to be present. Today is a good day to change the world.