Words of Encouragement…
Today’s subject (Time) originated earlier in the week. It’s probably been coming to me for years, but for whatever reason today is the day it made its way into my awareness. And like most of my lessons, it came to me without me realizing it was going to be something as impactful as change and understanding in my life.
Earlier this week I was talking on the phone and the subject surrounded a three year old child and how at that age, they have no concept of time. Everything is either now or later. To try to explain something will happen at 8:00 pm Monday, or noon on Saturday means nothing to them. They do not comprehend the days of the week, hours or minutes (unless time-out is applied). They don’t care which meal description fits into which part of the day. They know they are hungry and need to eat to not feel hungry. What they know is NOW. Play now, eat now, watch their favorite show now, wrestle now, snuggle now. They spend as much of their time living in the now as parents allow.
I think my lesson has to do more with applying balance in my life than with being able to explain the difference between carefree and disciplined. Although I do believe the difference between a child and me (as an adult) is conditioning. I’ve made decisions in my life to read books such as “The One Minute Manager”, and “Effective Time Management”. I chose to work as a program manager for quite a few years in my career. This meant I was responsible to build timelines and manage teams to meet the milestones.
Without my buy-in and definitely without realizing what I was ultimately doing to myself, I set out on a course of living my life in a rigid disciplined manner. An event happened to me two years ago that explains this perfectly. I was traveling out of town with someone and she had the audacity of wanting to go shopping as soon as we left the arriving airport grounds. What the freak is this?!?! Any decent, seasoned traveler, such as myself, knows upon arriving someplace, the first step is ALWAYS to check into the hotel. That’s what you do! And there are very good reasons for doing so! The second step is to unpack. Unpacking consists of hanging up hanger-clothes, taking clothes out of luggage and placing them in drawers that almost every hotel includes in their price. Finally, yet no less important than the first two, is arranging toiletries in the bathroom. If there is more than one person, the counter needs to be sub-divided to accommodate for everything. Heck, I’m even Ok if it’s not an even 50/50 split. Then & only then can things such as shopping, eating or any other activity be discussed. There is no other way!! OK, there is one thing I could be convinced to put in between checking into the hotel but before unpacking.
Well, I lost and my decision was not the popular one we went with. For the first half hour that we were shopping I felt irritated, ticked off and thought that I was the only adult on this trip. Once I explained why I felt the way I did and realized myself how silly it seemed to be upset over this we sent shopping, out to lunch and had a blast. Once we finally checked into the hotel, I was even able to kid about me being as bothered as I was, but inside I wondered why my emotions felt so tightened by this. I’ve been unable to figure out the answer to that question until today.
Earlier today, I had the privilege of a day hike in Crowder Mountian, SC. I am so grateful I have opportunities like this in my life. It was supposed to be 5.2 miles, but I don’t think it would be exaggerating for me to say I strung it out to 6 miles. Not on purpose, but because I was trying to participate in a conference call for work and still hike, so I ended up turning when I should have went straight. The hike required rock climbing. Not cliffs, but high enough that I was excited about my accomplishment! This climbing forced my mind to focus on where I was more than any of the chattering thoughts that can consume my time.
The conference call went well and after I figured out which direction I was supposed to be heading, I again realized the beautiful surroundings, the sound of a light wind rustling the few remaining leaves that still hung from trees. The ideal weather, brisk enough to keep a guy my size from overheating, yet not cold enough to push me to a running pace…lol I felt really calm and into the moment. I felt satisfied right in the moment I was in.
Then I felt this overwhelming feeling of weightlessness go through my entire being. I felt as though I was floating through the trail rather than hiking, as if gravity lost most of its pull on me. I felt this feeling to the point that if I didn’t hear the leaves crunching under my feet I would have bet I was floating. I was moving uphill, downhill, changing direction from right to left, depending on where the trail led completely effortlessly. I didn’t feel like I have at times when I’m on a spiritual high. It was much calmer than that. It was more being a part of. Being moved as opposed to moving. There was no outside thought, just this awed, calm, peaceful feeling.
After what I would guess to be an hour or so, I remember having a quick thought of wondering what time it was. I remembered that I had to check out of my hotel by 1:00 and all of a sudden, SWOOSH! Everything I was feeling immediately vanished. At first I tried to forget about checking out of my hotel, but I couldn’t. So I checked my watch and found I had 75 minutes to get back, shower, pack and check out. I fought off the thoughts about packing, which consisted of foot ware 1st, then hanger-clothes, then remainder, with toiletries on top. For the remainder of the hike I could not get that feeling of weightlessness back.
So for my lesson… since I live in the world I do need some areas of structure to accomplish the things that are important to me and in order for me to be an active participant in life. But I don’t need even a fraction of what I’ve subjected myself to throughout my adult life. Also, I realize that I need to be aware of the areas I’m adding structure to that call for me to be child-like. Finally, I need to make darn sure I regularly have unstructured time available for me to be. I laugh because my first thought to this is to set so many hours per week to be unstructured…lol Even as I laugh at this I know this would be a start, if it’s all I can do. Knowing the days of the week, being able to tell time and having the knowledge & ability to bring structure seems to be more crippling than healthy, in the manner I’ve applied it. I’m sure it all depends on application. We shall find out
These are my words of wisdom, I’d like to hear yours!