Five Years Plus

{December 13, 2013}   Time Fast

How often do you check the time?

I believe it is respectful of others to be on time for appointments, yet I struggle to do so. In fact, it’s an ongoing issue for me that I never feel like I have enough time. In particular, I often feel challenged to fit in my yoga and meditation practices in the day. I’m not an early riser and have never managed to sustain the recommended first thing in the morning practice.

In November, Chuck and I had the honor to attend a wedding of some dear friends at Copa de Arbol, an isolated rainforest and beach resort in Costa Rica. The only way in or out was by boat or on foot. Once we arrived I turned my phone off and settled in to relax and enjoy. The tiny clock beside our bed helped me pace each day, but otherwise there were no clocks evident around the place. Even though the situation was ideal for simply being, I noticed that I still stressed about the time – after all, I didn’t want to be late to the wedding!CopaDeArbol

On our last day while visiting our friends’ cabana, I noticed they had unplugged their clock. Duh! Since Thanksgiving followed our vacation, I decided it was a good time to experiment with unplugging from time. I began my “time fast” by removing the two visible clocks at home. Over the weekend time fasting was novel, easy and fun. I made a point of spending more time on my yoga mat and relaxing. I felt free. I wanted more.

Each Monday I teach yoga at 10 am, so I need to know the time. I set my alarm for two hours prior and simply work on what I know needs to be done to get ready. I feel more focused in my preparations and easily arrive on time. It took me over a week to realize that the car clock had to go. After all, once I get in the car I am not really in control over how much time it takes to reach my destination. So now there’s a strip of tape over the car clock.

My time fast is now two weeks old. I no longer glance up to where the kitchen clock used to be. I notice I am less worried about how long things take. I have learned not to look at the time when I pick up my phone. I go to bed when I am tired. On the three days I teach tennis in the afternoon I set my alarm at a designated time before I need to leave so I will not feel rushed getting ready. If the time fast becomes stressful I can consciously choose to look at my watch rather than doing it reflexively. I’m beginning to see that ultimately neither time nor the time fast is particularly serious.

I can also see that I used to be obsessed with time, often feeling overwhelmed. The time fast has helped me to notice when this is happening so that I can consciously develop better mental habits. For example, last weekend while we waited for friends to join us at brunch, I was able to enjoy the company of my husband rather than obsessing about the time and checking the door for our friends with each new arrival.

Finally I am beginning to understand that there is always more to do than time available, and that’s ok. If I don’t make time on my yoga mat a priority, it will never fit in. I know that sounds like simple common sense and I’m not sure how it is for you. For me, it feels different now. I’m starting to give myself the time to practice despite everything there is to do and manage. My time fast has been just the thing to allow me to let go enough to be present in my practice rather than worrying about what I have to do next.


Ann Hedley says:

Definately food for thought. I am sure you are aware that I “suffer” from the same time related issues that you describe. I seem to alternate between between being totally obsessed with time and ignoring it! When I am able to ignore the time I feel so much better. I have been experimenting recently on an alarm system for appointments. The first alarm marks the time that I must FOCUS solely on the upcoming task (ignore all distractions … Ha!). The second time is when I must leave to get to my appointment.
I’ll sum up my rambling reply by noting that when I’m in time ignore mode, the more I relax the more it generally stresses out those around me!

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