Time. Where the crazy-heck does it go? How do you use it – do you make the most of it? – and where do you ‘waste’ it…?
How consciously aware are you of the clock-on-the-wall time? And, are we governed by something that doesn’t truly exist…?
No where, other than looking at a watch, can we find ‘out there’ the hours and minutes and seconds. (Of course, there are very very clear cycles of time – and we can observe these everywhere out there. But they have soft edges, not the hard and fast edges of the clockface. Spring arrives when it’s ready, not on a deadline…)
What does it mean to waste time? To ‘give’ our time to activities that we don’t really want to do..? Giving our time to things that we don’t really need to? Does it mean being occupied with something easy (and perhaps even irrelevant) in preference for doing something that may be more difficult, or challenging but that’s more satisfying…?
Or maybe we waste time in procrastinating? Perhaps all of the above are some form of procrastination?
It’s not just about ‘making the time’ to do things, either – there’s a deeper layer to why we’re not actively engaging in activities that we would really like to be exploring. The question really is, why do we put off doing things and shy away from doing things that we more deeply desire…and instead find ourselves busy with ‘stuff’?
There may be innumerable reasons why we put off meaningful stuff – writing that book, playing that instrument, getting out those paints, getting in touch with that old friend…or even sorting through the myriad photos that we take! Perhaps we don’t perceive that we have ‘enough time’, or maybe the idea of ‘what’s important’ comes up – family takes precedence over ‘me and my stuff’ perhaps…?
But at what cost? What is the real loss – a sense of deep satisfaction engaging with the creative process perhaps? Creating profound connection…?
And where did these notions find their way into our modus operandi?
Are we missing out because of some preconceived notion about what’s ‘important enough’ to take up our time…?
Have we become slaves to time? Always watching it, never enough of it, too busy to get lost in it…?!
Haven’t we allowed ourselves to become scheduled up to the hilt, constantly running around trying to be ‘on time’…always up against it!?
There’s so much pressure in our culture for us to be on time.
And yet, it’s said that we can actually never ‘be late’. We can never be late – we’re always going to be, or turn up or arrive exactly where we’re supposed to be at the time we’re supposed to be there.
There’s a deep link to the notion that there are no good or bad choices: we cannot make a ‘right’ nor a ‘wrong’ choice. There are just decisions that we make and the ramifications of those decisions.
Now, those ramifications may not turn out as we’d expected, but whatever the weather we will have the opportunity to learn something along the way. (And granted, sometimes those lessons are hard to fathom.)
Ultimately though, this is the aim, isn’t it? To learn. To learn and grow as a result of that learning.
Externalising the internal
But it’s not always easy to register that there are no good or bad choices, as the world ‘out there’ presents us with a very polarised attitude to what’s good or bad, and even what’s right or wrong.
Is this really true though? Because isn’t it the case that we take what we see ‘out there’ and make further decisions ‘in here’ (in our internal world) off the back of what we’re presented with…?
And if we’re looking for something – and certainly if we’re looking for an opinion – we can invariably find what we’re looking for to corroborate with our opinion.
What this really means is that what we perceive to be true (or good or bad) is really rather subjective isn’t it? And isn’t this the case in all cases…?!
So for example, when one person thinks it’s getting dark, another person can think that it’s still remarkably light! We base our reflections on the outside world dependent on our internal perspective. And actually the internal bit comes first!
Light and dark (black or white, or good or bad) are intrinsically linked to the entire range of amounts of light (or shades of grey, or nuances of previous experience) – the spectrum is wholly connected, and either/or is only ever a flip side of the same coin, not totally distinct things.
Internal patterns of behaviour
If we start to rummage a little bit underneath the surface we see that we frame these subjective opinions in reference to experiences that we’ve had previously – this is the ‘internal bit comes first’. And often, these experiences can colour our thinking, and drive our patterns of behaviour, in ways that can be totally oblivious to us!
Looping back to link up these ideas… In searching our inner world a touch more to determine why we spend our time doing the things that we choose to do (perhaps over things that we’d really rather do…), let’s not put it off any longer and take a look back at procrastinating…
A universal pressure point
There may be hundreds of reasons why we hold back from carrying out certain things, and in doing so, don’t we manage to put an incredible amount of pressure on ourselves for not having done them on time, or even at all? No doubt this is a universal experience – the self-induced pressure – from putting off getting out there to go running, to dragging our heels about making that call, to avoiding updating our CV, or once again, perpetually ruminating about writing that book (or any other creative venture)… Or whatever your particular niche of procrastination looks like!
Sometimes we’re holding ourselves back, and there will be (these may be those hidden patterns of behaviour) underlying reasons why we’re keeping ourselves from connecting from that thing… But sometimes we’re held back because it’s not the right time to do something. No doubt we’ve all experienced both.
We’ve all experienced putting something off that feels a bit choresome, or that we feel that we haven’t got ‘the time’ to do….and then when you get on with it, and truly focus, it takes practically no time whatsoever!
It’s when we’re in synch, when we allow the process to happen…and arguably when we get out of our own way!
If we would only bring our awareness to the pressure that we’re putting on ourselves though, when really we can rest assured knowing that when we actually feel the impulse to take the action – and respond to it! – the thing, that it will unfold readily and smoothly…(as experience always shows us!).
This procrastination too shall pass… ; )
Someone else’s timeframe
Sometimes we’re also on someone else’s time-frame as well. That we’re feeling ‘the pressure’ to do something because someone else has an expectation of when (and what and how) something ought to be done. But maybe that’s not quite spot on for us…? Don’t we have to really purposefully drop into what is it that we’re supposed to be doing right here, right now…? It’s a practice though, which if we’re out of practise, can also be rather daunting to deeply connect to our own register of the whats and whens and whys…
But mostly, we put the most pressure on ourselves is when we internalise a perception of other people’s expectations of us and what we think they think that we’re supposed to be doing. Just maybe though we’ve created that perception without actually ascertaining the other person’s expectations…? Just maybe…
We do seem to be quite good at making assumptions about bits and bobs don’t we?! (And we invariably do this from a space of not truly seeing the driving motivation behind this.)
It has to be said though that holding onto expectations seems to be a downfall for us all!
It is invariably the case that those who honestly care for us just want us to be ourselves…and fulfilled doing exactly what lights us up.
Sometimes letting go of what we perceive other people want from us, and giving ourselves the permission to do what’s inherently right for us… Perhaps then we would ‘waste’ less time, we’d more readily connect to the ‘in synch’ ness of life, procrastination would naturally drop off as a result (and the internal pressure therein!) and we would purposefully allow more time to do the things that we will truly find satisfying. Which make us feel fully expressed in the world…
And if that were the case, what would we do differently? (Would we perhaps get that book written!?)