I often feel like I am running out of time—like it is an impossible to be everything to everyone (and myself) with the limited amount of hours in one day.
As the clock ticks on the wall above, I regularly want to shove it in a dark closet somewhere—wrapped in a big cushy blanket, behind a thick wooden door, so I can happily slam that door shut.
Can anyone relate?
It scares me, this linear time thing, especially when I feel there is not enough. And as I get older, it seems that the time lessens even more. Days pass like someone pushed the fast-forward button on the cassette tape of my life.
Friendships become hard to keep current and hobbies disappear. There sometimes seems to be barely enough time to work, make dinner, clean the house, sleep, get up, and do it all over again.
Doesn’t this seem insane? Well, it is.
When I accept this hurried pace as the norm in my life, I grieve. I ache for time to connect to the people, places and animals I miss, and I feel stuck in a tar-pit of societal “should haves.”
This is why I woke up this morning disappointed with myself—and time.
I’m not yet the writer I want to be, I’m not the lover I’ve wished to become, I’m less of a best friend then I thought I could be, and I have put on a few extra summer pounds.
And there won’t be enough minutes in the coming days to fix all these things!
I knew that underneath this critiquing there was peace to be found, but how to get to it, I was uncertain.
Possibly after I did one more task, and then one more after that… “Ah, stop!” I was sucked in by the snaggle-toothed fear monster of linear time, forgetting the other ideas about time, the ones that make my body soften instead of constrict.
So I began forming a three-step reminder system to pull myself through this time wormhole—expansive steps for those of us afraid of running out of time.
- Many things are happening at once. Time ticks me off when I don’t feel like I am doing enough. But if I choose to see each thing I do as achieving multiple goals, time becomes more flexible. This is the opposite of linear thinking. As I work, I touch my heart. As my fingers type, I inspire. When I buy groceries, I support a farmer. When I make dinner, I create joy.
To pause and notice the various things that happen in this one moment, is to be moved by how expansive this second can be. Peace is nearer then I thought.
- I am enough. When I race against time, I am often trying to prove that I am enough. So the other cure to running out of time is simple: I shift the fear that I am not enough (or that I do not have enough) into the appreciation of what I am and have right now.
Today, amidst my rush to work, instead of trying to beat time, I did the opposite. I sat down on my back steps and I stopped. I let time pass, and I almost cried with relief at this surrendering.
I made a list about how my life and self is enough: the sunshine on my cheek, my steady breath, my body’s mobility, a warm home, nutritious food, being loved…then I breathed all this in—enough.
- Make today a good day to die. I then remembered another teaching on time. It came on the breeze that rustled my wavy, brown hair. It was a cryptic message, but one I needed to hear. It whispered, “Make today a good day to die.”
I heard these words two years ago on a meditation retreat. They scared me then. (I thought they meant I had to fit in more stuff!) Today I saw them differently. “Make today a good day to die,” meant throw out the list. It meant make today the best day to live by forgetting there even is a tomorrow.
So I immediately called a friend and laughed. I told her I loved her. I watched the sun and the clouds make patterns on the ground. I smiled.
This morning I had felt I wasn’t enough, so I needed more time to prove it. As I sat and let these three teachings sink into my skin, I felt okay again. I wasn’t racing anything.
But I was late for work, so off I went. Not to prove my value or make excellent use of time. No, simply because the woman who is enough loves to work, as she knows she is good (enough) at it.
And yes, while I work, several other things will happen: Facebook, texting, communing with the universe, and of course, planning my further conquering of time.
“Three things shine before the world and cannot be hidden. They are the moon, the sun and the truth.” ~ proclaimed by the Tathagata, from The Essence of Buddhism.
Author: Sarah Norrad
Image: Flickr/new 1lluminati
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina