Adara’s Hands by Sean David Wright
Regularly taking time for yourself, even with something as simple as a cup of tea, invites time to be more friend than foe.
by Barbara Steingas
Time is man-made illusion. It is relative to how we perceive it. I’m sure we have all experienced when minutes seem like hours when we’re waiting for, or anticipating something. Conversely, we have also all had time fly by when we were having fun or when we are busy. It’s our perspective that determines if time feels like a friend or a foe. We have the ability to choose and control how we feel about the passing of time.
When I cram too many things in a time frame, then I feel pressured and stressed. In these situations, time appears to be my foe. I become angry at myself and at time because I don’t feel I can accomplish everything. The reality, though, is that time is neither friend nor foe. It just does what we designed it to do: tick away at a steady pace.
Breaking the pattern
I am the one causing my anguish by trying to be the super-woman and perfectionist. My model was and continues to be my mother. She never allows herself to rest from the minute she wakes up until at least dinner time. She only rests then because she is too exhausted to do anything more. Mom feels she can’t relax until all the work is done, but there is always something that can be done. For an example, after she had a massage at my home, mom immediately went outside to do yard work even though she should have taken the time to rest.
I followed the same patterning until, over the course of many years, I had to learn the hard way to let go. After finding my way back to health from Crohn’s Disease, I’ve learned to prioritize more, only do what is most pressing, and save what can wait until the next day. This is not to say I never feel pressured or try to take on too much, but this happens less often, and I remember more quickly that I have the ability to choose how I feel and, usually, what I need to do.
Tips to slow down
Take a break
I recently learned a useful technique of using the alarms on my phone to remind me to take breaks every 50-60 minutes. Taking regular breaks allows us to be more productive and happier and to re-energize.
I also say a mantra every day about how I have more than enough time and resources to accomplish what I need to accomplish. I use deep breathing to help relieve any stress I’m feeling. Breathing also reminds me to slow down and not get on the hamster wheel of stress, or to get off of it if I have gotten on it.
Be an imperfectionist
Perfection is an illusion that gives us a false sense of security. If we constantly do, we don’t have to feel. It is human nature to feel that if we are perfect, then we will be fully loved. Even if we could attain a state of perfection, we couldn’t enjoy it because we would be so exhausted. The truth is, we are perfectly flawed and lovable the way we are. When we allow ourselves to have some time to enjoy the journey and the little moments, rather than pushing ourselves to the end result, that is where we discover our health, happiness and joy.
Ultimately, we all have our “time” when our human journey in this life is up, but it’s what we do with the time we have that defines our overall experiences. We can’t take the clean house, or the to-do list items with us when we go. All we can take with us is love. Make a decision today to be more playful and loving with yourself and others.
As I wrote in one of my books, all work and no play make Jack/Jill stressed. When we are physically healthy, emotionally and mentally happy, and spiritually joyous and to achieve this we must perceive time as abundant and our friend.