||The Gift of Time
Again from the book of inspiration called “Origins”, the following quotation brought to mind how important it is to have unstructured moments of time to support the experience being truly present:
“The purity of the moment is made from the absence of time”,
Cheikh Hamidou Kane.
I’ve written before about the relatively new condition that people are calling “time poverty”, where we may be so busy with so many demands that we experience time pressure in just about every aspect of our lives. When this is the case, we lose the luxury of just being in the moment, being free to notice what comes, having time to be inspired, moved, or simply touched by what emerges in our present experience.
Because of the time pressure that touches so many people’s lives, we now have to be mindful and purposeful about making time simply to be with ourselves and our internal process. When was the last time you had an opportunity to contemplate something meaningful to you? As you’ve moved through your daily routine, have you taken moments to literally or figuratively “smell the roses” along the way? These can seem like stolen moments, and – added up – they amount to important sources of nourishment along the way.
Often, as I cross Central Park in the morning on the way to my office, I take whatever time I need to relate to trees, people, dogs, and other surprising moments I may encounter along the way. I’ve built in enough time to be able to do that, and it is a great gift I give to myself each morning – even when these moments may five minutes at most. These five minutes have a leisurely quality to them that fills me up because they are outside my usual life of highly scheduled activities and allow me to fully engage the present moment without reservation. The last time I did this was when I had a visit with my dog friend, Daisy. She and I meet one another just about every morning in the park, and there are times when she’s in the mood to relate and we spend a few minutes just hanging out – Daisy barking and me talking to her human companion. It’s a delight, as Daisy is such an enthusiastic lover of the park and engages her morning time with great enthusiasm. At other times, a particular view might captivate me, and I’m always willing to take a few minutes to soak in the experience.
For this week’s experiment, I invite you to explore your relationship with time and, especially, to become more aware of how and when you give yourself the gift of an “absence of time” – time that is available to simply inhabit and experience the present moment. Even if you have only a few minutes available, notice how powerful it can be to have even a little bit of time just to be with yourself, your experience, with whatever you want to bring into awareness in a more leisurely, complete way.
As always, please engage this experiment with curiosity and with a willingness to allow mixed feelings. Sometimes we feel so harried, it’s difficult to even imagine giving ourselves unstructured time. Be sure to know that only a few minutes are often enough to drop into the present moment in a way that is free from the stress of demands or deadlines. The key is to play with your relationship to time and the choices you make along the way.