Well this is embarrassing! A few weeks ago I realized that I had become obsessed with time. Of course I must pay attention to it on the days I have appointments scheduled. We don’t trust our guidance so deeply that we can coordinate our lives without it… at least not at this stage of human evolution!
Nonetheless, I had slowly slipped into a reality where I allowed myself to feel controlled by the clock! Had I exercised before 9am? Had I answered emails before 10am? Was the newsletter written by 1pm? Would I get to bed by 11pm? Was it time to eat? I caught myself checking the clock all the time and judging whether or not I was having a good day by how much I packed in! It was an old habit and I’d allowed it to slowly start polluting my joy in the present.
I realized the complete absurdity of this behavior, the weekend my computer monitor broke. Suddenly I had no plans… and still I was checking the clock!
That did it! The moment I saw how I’d strayed from the present moment, I taped sticky notes over every clock in the house – on my computers, my microwave, my oven, the alarm, you name it!
I promised myself I wouldn’t peek. For the entire weekend and my entire office day on Monday, I promised myself I would not look at a single clock! I would drop back into my heart, and do what I felt like doing in the moment! I would eat when I was hungry, sleep when I was tired… and trust. I knew I needed to return to my natural rhythms.
At first it was humorous. I actually caught myself looking at every clock in the house, and way too often! I couldn’t see them with the sticky notes taped on top, so it made me laugh. No cheating. No peeking! I stuck to my resolve.
With no clock to dictate “what I should be doing and when” I started once again to do what I felt like doing in each moment. I felt relaxed, unhurried, and highly productive. I enjoyed my meals, had time to relax in the evenings, and went to bed when I was actually tired. I started feeling the grace and love of the Divine moving me – naturally – once again.
By the end of the weekend I had accomplished more than I thought possible and was completely rejuvenated! I had lived a three day meditation, purely present, in bliss, and in tune with my own soul. By the time I removed the sticky notes, on my next client day I had returned so completely to my natural rhythms that I barely had to check the clocks… I was back “in tune” with “now!”
Have you ever gotten to this point where you feel ruled by the clock? Have you ever slipped into judging your success based on how much you accomplish?
If so here are a few tips to balance your need for keeping time, with living in the present…
1. Set aside some time to “Get out of time”
Set aside anywhere from a few hours to an entire day somewhere in the next month. For the entire time avoid looking at the clock. Do what your heart wants in each moment. If you don’t know what your heart wants, sit quietly and just “be” until something arises. If you can set aside time each week, even better.
If you absolutely cannot take this sort of time, try covering up your clocks and programming an app or timer to buzz when you absolutely need to do things throughout your day. Avoid checking the clock otherwise. Slowly allow yourself to focus on the present, knowing your timer will let you know when you must shift. You will be less distracted and more productive, and more importantly you will recalibrate yourself to your more natural rhythms.
2.Try to be fully present with whatever you are doing now
If you are with someone give them your full attention. If you can’t, excuse yourself or be honest that you have to focus on something else. I had a friend who used to say to her child, “We’ll have mommy time after I fix dinner!”
If you are doing some work, try to minimize distractions. The angels once jokingly told a woman she should put police tape across her office entrance the first two hours of each day so she could get her most important work done without interruptions. I turn the phone off and let it go to message while I’m working, and turn the sound off on my computer when I must concentrate so I don’t hear incoming messages.
Being present allows you to enjoy your current reality, or at least notice when you are not enjoying it so you can create change.
3. If you have trouble being present, journal your distracting thoughts.
Write down all that distracts you – all your regrets about the past worries about the future, etc. Put them in a God box (a box you intend to contain all your prayers) and give them to God. Now try to focus on the now.
While we certainly need time to coordinate ourselves, we don’t have to allow our happiness or feelings of self-worth to be ruled by the clock! When we get present, we see clearly what supports our aliveness and joy and where we must begin to manifest change.
And while I completely understand packing a lot in, the truth is simple. Our joy in the present is of far more value that what we think we must accomplish in the future. Give it a try… when you have time :)!!