I’m in the middle of an experiment with time – an experiment with my time.
You see, two days ago, I literally looked up (at my monitor, that is, which was displaying my Basecamp calendar, where I keep track of my deadlines) and realized I was going to be knee deep in work for the next five to six days.
Not good. How had I let the time slip by me like that?
And that’s when I started thinking about my beliefs about time.
The Field Center teaches us that time is just a construct of reality. It is what we believe it to be. Both past and future are as flexible and malleable as the present.
It is in the present that our power resides. There is, after all, only the now.
I began thinking about what I believed about time. And when I fished each belief out and took a good look at it, I knew they were beliefs I definitely did not want to hang onto.
I could see them glistening in front of me. There is never enough time. Time is too precious to waste. Time slips away so quickly. If I had the time, I would be able to _________ .
And so of course, my days are generally crazy-busy. I never seem to have enough time. The days pass by in the blink of an eye, and before I know it, I’m deep in the middle of the next season, wondering, where did the time go? And when I have a moment of time, I agonize over how I should spend it. Time was too precious to waste.
I knew, after all, that if I only had the time, I would be able to accomplish so much more.
An interesting thing happened while I was thinking about everything that I believed about time. Suddenly, I began remember how I felt about time when I was a child; back then, time stretched out, gleaming, in front of me, filled with so much possibility and potential.
Every day when I got home from school, I had time to read, to write, to watch TV, to play.
On Fridays,an entire weekend stretched out in front of me! What bliss!
Saturday afternoons we’d all head over to the library for books and then dinner, maybe at Mr. Mike’s Steakhouse, which I loved, maybe just a hotdog, which I was okay with, as long as I could get a pizza dog. Saturday morning and Saturday evening, however, were all mine. The mornings would be spent in anticipation of the library, and the new books I’d be getting; the evenings would be devoted to reading, dreaming and writing.
Sunday mornings we’d have dim sum with my father’s friends and their families, all seated at one large table. I’d be allowed to take a book with me, and while the other kids fooled around, I’d read while carts filled with freshly steamed shrimp dumplings, glistening white folds of rice noodles and savory and garlicky ribs glided by our table.
The rest of Sunday was all mine. I usually spent it dreaming, reading, writing.
And then there was the thrill of the summer holidays. An entire two months of time, to do with as I wished.
Two days ago, those feelings about time flowed back to me; I could feel the joy and the glee that I felt about time. I could feel how time is always so abundant.
When did my beliefs change? The changes were infinitesimal when I was in high school; I barely noticed. In university, it felt like I had more time than in high school; my days were far less structured, and I could study when I wanted to, as long as the studying got done before tests and exams. I could work on assignments when I wanted to, as long as the work got done by the due date.
Time began changing when I started working full-time. My commute was long, and suddenly, time was being wasted. My days were not my own; I had to work to the rhythm of someone else’s schedule. And when I had a baby, time became even more compressed. It wasn’t simply time anymore. It was time pressure. Very little time, so much to do.
Does becoming an adult mean you have to change your beliefs about time? I decided, no, it didn’t. I only changed my beliefs because that’s what everyone else did. I’d heard so much about the time dilemma. It had to be true. And so it was.
So two days ago, I decided to play a little experiment. I was facing five deadlines in six days; one deadline is actually an equivalent amount of work to two projects, so it was more like six deadlines in six days. Certainly not a good situation, “time-wise”, based on what I believed about time.
So I decided to choose to believe differently. That first morning, rather than rushing to my computer to start working, I sat in the living room with my cup of coffee, and called up those long-ago feelings about time that I had as a child. I remembered the thrill of having so much time, the bliss of an abundance of time.
I let myself rest in those feelings. Time IS abundant. I do have the time to get things done. I have the time to play. Time passes slowly and deliciously.
Well, I haven’t done anything creative the past two days, but my deadlines are being met, easily and effortlessly. I am half an hour away from finishing up the one deadline that’s equivalent to two assignments.
Much of my work is done on the computer. It requires a certain amount of thinking. A while ago, I experimented with listening to audiobooks while I was working. Back then, it didn’t work. I couldn’t do the two things at once. Invariably, I’d end up typing the words I heard, rather than what I was reading and thinking.
Yesterday, I discovered that this has changed. I’m able to listen to non-fiction audiobooks while I work. I started with the Field Center course, moved onto this wonderful lecture on consciousness and creativity by David Lynch, then finished up my night with Bruce Lipton’s lecture on the New Biology (if you’ve never watched this video I highly recommend it – here is part 1 at Google Video and here is part 2). When I start work today, I’m going to be listening to Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe. I don’t know yet if I can listen to fiction and work at the same time, but for now, I’m getting to lots of non-fiction that I hadn’t had the time to get to before.
I’m getting my work done, and doing something else that’s enjoyable at the same time. If you’d asked me last week if I could do this, I would have said, sadly, “Not a chance, unfortunately”. Today, it feels like time has doubled for me. I’m getting my work done, and I’m listening to a book that I’ve been meaning to get to for a long time.
And I even have the time to write this post! Update: Thanks for all your wonderful comments. I finished my last deadline a day ahead of schedule! And now the whole rest of the week stretches out in front of me, filled with lots and lots of time!
What are your beliefs about time? What would you do with your time if you discovered that time was an abundant and delicious resource?
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