This morning I turned back time. Daylight Savings Time is a concept that that is carried out in some countries, turning the clocks forward one hour in the spring and back one hour in the autumn. In those days it was meant to save on energy – allowing more daylight hours for workers during the summer and winter months. I hadn’t experienced it for a long while but remember the familiar thought/feeling of “good, I’ve got another hour today.”
Time is a question I deal with every so often, because ‘timing is everything’(?) While time is reflected in digital or analog form, spaces in time are also reflected through different parts of our body and are charted in our minds. So take a few moments and consider the sands through the hourglass of our life…
A Brief (and Personal) History of Time
Have you ever done the ‘minute test’? You can do it right now – look at a clock with a second hand, note the time, close your eyes and when you feel a minute has passed, open your eyes again. Some people will be dead on, others earlier, others later. While the subconscious mind has a relatively close idea of time – when you wake up moments before the alarm (that’s the protective part of your subconscious keeping track so you don’t get startled by the noise), the conscious mind tends to be affected by other bearings, past and present.
I know that when I’m waiting for something that I feel is important, my idea of ten minutes is much shorter than the actual clock suggests – because I want those minutes to pass more quickly. However, when I’m fully engaged and enjoying myself, the opposite is true.
But it’s much deeper than that. Is timing nature or nurture? I was re-watching a 1980s film called “The Gods Must Be Crazy” whose narrator spoke of a bushman tribe in Africa that had no sense of time, because there was no need to conform to the schedule of modern life (home, work, hobbies, etc). While this may not be your background, it’s interesting to review what timing meant in your upbringing. Was it a rushed, full calendar hurry, or was there a lack of urgency timing-wise? What were the consequences of missing a deadline, in school, at home… was there punishment or praise? Were there family stories of a slow or fast member who was the hero (or the cautionary tale)? When we examine some of these earlier inputs, some of our actions and reactions associated with the idea of time may become more clear. By the time we’re grown up, our collection of experiences and feedback based on our time-based performance can sear subconscious patterning deeply which runs unconsciously in the background.
Living with a Turtle
You may have heard of the “Tortoise and the Hare” a race between two animals of different speeds. As the story goes, the slower yet consistent creature ‘beat’ the faster one who took his speed (and win) for granted. Interesting… Now it seems I live with, what I’d affectionately term ‘a turtle’, and less affectionately ‘a donkey’. When there are deadlines looming, there appears to be no appropriate acceleration of action. At the same time, my husband might call me an animal name I wouldn’t like to see posted, but he may be looking at my timelines as being artificially created and unnecessarily short. Who’s to say?
Sometimes it may be fact based, yet historically skewed – our autumn/winter garden needs to be prepared for possible frost, which if done after the fact is like ‘closing the barn after the horse has escaped). Is it my Canadian batten down the hatches for a long winter attitude, versus a more laid-back temperately climated Californian heritage coming out in our perspectives? Is it a priority issue? It is an inability to look at the greater good of our garden providing us with food over the next couple months if it doesn’t get frozen (ooppps, that one might be a bit biased)? Maybe all of the above, which means that ‘fact’ is just as subjective as history books in their inclinations.
So what if you’re surrounded by others who don’t share your time predilection? Sometimes knowing your own ‘animal’ first may help. I’d be on the quick-twitch side of things, I like to create deadlines to ‘inspire’ me to finish (leaving them too long and they fall off my ‘scope’) etc… Charting your nearest and dearest would be the next step, with any input from their time-heritage added. Then, like many issues it may be a combination of letting go (of expectations), looking from the shoes of another, picking battles (or causes) and working at your own pace. Then there’s…
Wasting, Spending, Saving, Sharing
Looking at the perspective of times in terms of the vocabulary is very revealing. What do you ‘spend’ time on? What helps you ‘save’ time or ‘waste’ it? Over the next couple of days really notice what you say about the things that ‘fill’ your time… and even if you don’t say it out loud, you may be saying it internally. I know, personally, that I consider vacuuming a waste of my time, but will spend my time making home-made jellies and jams that others would consider a time-sucking activity. It’s not absolute – this view on time is very personal. The real question arises, however, are our internal views on the usefulness of time useful to us? When we reprimand ourselves for wasting time, are we creating labels and internal conflict that is negatively affecting us? Are there some concepts of time that are inherited that can be released or rephrased in your life now? Are there some new models of time usage that we could follow as functioning and wonderful adults?
Maybe it’s time to take a look at our daily make up of time use that we feel is valuable or ‘worthless’ to us. Can we increase the list of value and delegate the less worthwhile aspects? Can we work with one to transform our vision of it to make it feel more constructive? If “the beauty of the music is in the rests” could our modern, schedule-filled lives benefit from sharing time with others we love (with no agenda or results), taking time to breathe and support our health and wellbeing, create time by ‘being’ rather than doing? It may be worth the time to figure out what it means to and for you.
Your time starts… now…
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” – Benjamin Franklin