Having recently returned from working in Africa I’ve been thinking about time. A lot.
In my last post I wrote about a great Utne Reader article called Our Schedules, Our Selves: Are you more important than your appointment book? by Jay Walljasper.
Accompanying Jay’s article is a bold headline that reads “How to Expand Time”. Author Stephan Rechtschaffen begins by saying that when he asks his seminar attendees if they have enough time. When he asked prison inmates no one raised a hand!
“We are all imprisoned – by the perception that time is a scarce and limited resource.” Stephan goes on to say that “stress comes from resisting what is actually happening in the moment.”
Hmmm. Pause for reflection.
He offers 5 ways to expand time:
1. Break your current rhythm and enter a new one: “the simple act of pausing can help change how time feels”, he even suggests using the ring of the telephone as a signal to pause, and take a breath rather than mindlessly snatching it off the hook.
2. Create time boundaries: plan time to reflect, contemplate, mediate, whatever shakes your tail feathers. Just make sure it’s not interrupted by your or anyone else’s to-do list.
3. Honour the mundane: Stephan says we often treat our lives as highlights. We live for the big moments. The ta-da’s, watch ma no hands moments. He suggests the in-between moments are the bulk of our lives and can be the source of much that is honorable. Note to self: try this while doing next mountain of laundry
4. Create spontaneous time: create time for unexpected, unplanned events. Pick a time several weeks from now and on that date go where your fancy takes you. They key is no pre-planning. Radical I know.
5. Create time retreats: Stephan recommends doing something once a year that takes you out of your normal rhythm for a week or more. Make a conscious choice and let time open to you. Note to self: book flight to Kenya and Mozambique in January
I’m thankful for the opportunity my work in Africa gave me to shake up my rhythm.
For time to open up, expand, wash over and shake me up.
To curl my toes, make my heart beat faster and shake my hips.
To put a grin on my face, a tear in my heart.
To planted question marks that continue to grow in a fertile mind.
To open my eyes while at times I wanted to shield them.