Time is, by far, the most commonly used noun in the English language.
Think about it: Your entire day from when you wake up to when you go to sleep is dictated by that little clock on your wrist. And generally speaking, we never feel like we have enough of it.
If you wanna get all philosophical, time is just a social construct created to cause us to feel like we have some semblance of “control” over our lives. There has always been a sunrise and a sunset, but there wasn’t always an “o’clock.” And it’s that “o’clock” that causes us so much anxiety nowadays.
I was talking with a client the other day and he reminded me of a saying I heard probably 10 years ago in one of my acting classes with Anthony Meindl.
“I HAVE TIME.”
We would say that to ourselves during our scenes so we wouldn’t rush the moments. Many actors are always more consumed with saying their lines than just living on stage. Anthony teaches people to just BE there with their partner living their lives, taking breaths, not rushing to the next line.
Do me a favor, just take a second and close your eyes and say to yourself: “I have time.”
Did you feel that?
I did. My shoulders just got a little lower, my jaw a little looser.
We are a culture, here in the United States, that is addicted to speed. We are addicted to getting as many things done in as little amount of time as possible, without any real attention to the quality: quality of product, quality of time, quality of life. We rush through our lives the way we rush through our days: hardly even taking the time to take a deep breath.
When we were little kids, we just wanted to be bigger. When we were teenagers, we just wanted our license. When we finally turned 16, we just wanted to be 18. Once we were 18 we just wanted to be 21. When we were 21 we just wanted to graduate…do you see the theme here?
I see this a lot in yoga classes with my students. I will carefully curate a series of poses to warm their bodies up in a way so that the final expression can be accessed with so much more ease and provide an even greater release.
Let’s use Half Pigeon as an example, because if you read a previous post: you know I’m all about those hip openers:
I will often take my students through variations of “dragon series.” Going from certain hamstring openers, to groin stretches, quad openers, and finally leading them into half pigeon. I will so often see people go right onto the next stretch or try to get straight into pigeon when we still need to start in Crescent Moon or Lizard. There is always a rush to get to the end rather than the desire to sit in, and enjoy the journey, the transitions.
All life is, is one giant transition. We are born. We die. And everything in between changes over and over again.
Our consistent feelings of wishing we had more time in our day has created a culture that rushes through the really beautiful moments of our lives. Parents will sometimes rush reading bedtime stories to their kids: believe me, I’ve been there. “She won’t notice if we just skip these couple of pages…” They ALWAYS notice! And those moments: the few moments in the morning where you can lay next to your person and scratch their back, those moments your child wants to snuggle with you as you read to them, the opportunity to sit at a table across from a friend and actually talk with them and bond…why rush that? What could be more important than those sweet and intimate moments we have to connect when we get them?
I’m not writing this blog to tell you to stop multi-tasking, or to start some wellness movement of clock-rejection… it could happen, you know: “I no longer use clocks, I live my life to the natural rhythm of my body…”
Sounds kinda awesome doesn’t it?
Don’t do that. Please don’t. You’ll get fired.
I just think we all need to be a little more aware of how much we allow the concept of time to control how we enjoy ourselves, and my hope is we start to tell ourselves and then GIVE ourselves permission to sit in our lives a little more fully, more presently, and more deeply than before.