‘’The trouble is you think you have time’’ – Buddha
Time, we never have enough of it, right?
It’s a common problem. An everyday occurrence. People all over this world of ours can be heard daily, sometimes several times a day bemoaning the fact that the precious commodity that is time is all too short. But when you think about it, REALLY think about it our lives are governed not so much by the harbinger of time….the clock……..but rather what we choose to do at any given point of any given day. It is our choices to do or not do something which impacts negatively on our lives and when we couple THIS with the problems we cause ourselves as a result THEN the situation caused by our inability to do or say something within a promised or expected time frame is the end result and we fall prey to the all too willing ally of time STRESS !
How we as individuals view the concept of time (our mind set) must also be taken into account when considering our stress levels together with how we can utilise this intangible commodity which holds such formidable sway over us, in a positive and user friendly manner.
As with most things in life it can only hold the amount of power over us which we are willing to surrender.
Whilst it is true to say that the world as we know it would cease to exist if time were to be abolished I’m inclined to suggest that as a species mankind would be so much better placed to return to their natural state of well rounded and balanced beings in touch with not only themselves and their individual needs and wants but those of their loved ones too.
Before the advent of time as a commodity man was governed by the rising and setting of the sun which by definition meant that work was done according to daylight hours, food was naturally grown seasonally and so on. Life was hard for sure BUT it was simple, uncomplicated and people knew the value of the things which mattered. Things began to get very complicated when:
Every moment of every day not only could but largely HAD to be accounted for on the back of the invention of time as we know it!
Time like money is a man-made illusion, a yardstick if you will designed to keep our lives ordered & manageable.
It is both a blessing & a curse.
The blessing being that it affords us the opportunity to plan & organise life in such a way that it becomes enjoyable, fulfilling , exciting even AND we can look forward with eager anticipation to things which we know will bring happiness & pleasure thus enriching our lives. The very fact that many, many people actively seek out ‘’quality time’’ to spend with loved ones, recharge their minds and bodies and actually choose to live rather than exist bears testament to the fact that in its purest form time can be a massive bonus and spent wisely a much needed relief from the rigors of life.
The flip side however is that it can also become a curse which brings with it the burden of limitation, we become limited by the largely self-imposed time scales we set to achieve our objectives, be they in the work place or in our ‘’real’’ lives and thus the joint realities of pressure and stress rear their heads.
There are instances when all around us seems chaotic or even to be falling apart, times when everything seems to be out of control….not our power of control…. just a random feeling of free fall where nothing makes sense and the outcome not only seems uncertain but so far out of reach that you cannot even begin to imagine it and then suddenly we become all too aware that we are being manipulated by time constraints which are carrying us along as we willingly buy into the trap that is;
Forever keeping one eye on the clock for fear of falling short in some way.
The key as with everything in life has got to be balance.
My Nan could often be heard to say ‘’a little of what you fancy does you good. Everything in moderation never harmed anybody’’ – she was quite correct.
So that said, surely it should follow that we become naturally mindful of the fact that there are only 24 of the man-made illusion that are hours in any one of the given 365 illusions that are days in an equally illusionary matrix of a year and so on. As such then the ‘’time available’’ to us becomes by definition both finite & constraining in nature. Sadly we humans are not perfect and our obsession with time and so its management instead of being our blessing becomes by default the thing which becomes the master to our self-imposed slavery and thus our curse!
For instance on the odd occasion when for once we may have time to sit, be still & perhaps relax in the company of special people or in a place of natural beauty & are thankful to be doing so, the illusion of time can even then be cause for anxiety as we perhaps begin to feel the burden of guilt bring force to bear as it prompts us to remember things left unfinished or even worse not yet started way after they should have been.
As a species man has in part lost either the habit or ability (possibly both) to disconnect from the treadmill of a life, that no matter how hard we try to tame it, is largely executed as a result of the dictates of an invisible time lord and ultimately the anxiety associated with the often impossible task of meeting deadlines or keeping promises rashly made increases by default causing angst and stress, even emotional turmoil along the way.
Time related anxiety may be brought about perhaps because we have little or no control over any external factors which may be threatening to derail our efforts to either resolve problems or finish a project for instance .Thus the curse of the illusion of time brings with it a pressure which is almost unbearable as you see the keeper of time…..the clock……slowly, relentlessly but or so very surely tick by as it moves ever closer to either the conclusion of a scenario or the start of new beginnings. The metaphoric sound of every single tick, each signalling the fact that we are one step closer to that which is unfolding and know we have no choice other than to relinquish control & trust that whatever happens is how it has to be whatever the outcome; positive, negative, happy or sad.
The element of curse remains in this instance to remind us that we should always make or have made use of every single one of the ‘’man made’’ seconds in our life leaving nothing undone nor unspoken for fear that the after effects of those uncompleted acts alone will become yet another self-imposed cause for regret – that the illusion of time has been wasted. In fact it is not time which has been wasted simply because if we take it as a given that it is indeed an illusion then by definition it does not exist!
This ‘’thing’’ then that has been wasted must only be that of opportunity.
The opportunity to have acted on feelings, the opportunity to have addressed any given situation which may have been the cause of anxiety or stress or fear of the unknown. The opportunity to validate ourselves & our loved ones each & everyday is surely the essence of which is why we are all here & why we should very definitely take the curse of this man-made illusion and turn it very firmly but positively around and neutralise its negative aspects by using the time calmly, wisely and with purpose allowing us to be safe in the knowledge that nothing has been left unspoken or undone thus limiting the impact of regret which when coupled with this perceived thing called time can, if we allow it become a self-imposed prison from which it can be almost impossible to free ourselves……. !!
If we are diligent in our efforts to offset the unwanted attention of and undue pressure from our illusionary ‘’friend’’ by being mindful of its adverse effects, then every day will see us become increasingly aware of the need to adopt an attitude which will see us address each and every situation requiring our attention and as a result we will have overcome that thief of time: procrastination. In having done this we will by definition have more of it at our disposal and will be both willing and able to effect lasting positive changes in our lives overall.
In reality living fully in 21st Century mode means we will rarely if ever come close to living as nature intended; by the sun. BUT by practicing the choice of mindfulness and taking responsibility for our actions and reactions to the demands which time consistently and persistently make upon us we can come closer than we would perhaps think.
Think about it for a second;
More quality time to spend with loved ones, more time to practice the art of Self-Care, more time to do more of the things you love or would love to be able to do. In short more time to improve the overall quality not only of your life but that of those you love.
In having chosen to react positively as opposed to negatively and claim victory with regard to LIMITING the stifling constraints of time and its unwelcome side effects then we have without even realising it enabled ourselves not only to overcome hurdles be they real or otherwise but by association, diminish the all too real impact of both stress and pressure.
It is at this point that we have given ourselves the positive and confidence boosting opportunity to