A Time to Be

There is a time to be born and a time to die. And a time to do all those things that fill up our lives. Sometimes we feel we just don’t have enough time, and sometimes we are involved in activities that we consider to be a complete waste of time. We are bound to time in such a way that it can, most of the time, be considered a curse. How we perceive time at any given moment has a lot to do with our emotional connection to the activity we are involved in. When we are late for an appointment, all the people not in a hurry seem to be in front of us, yet, if we are early for an appointment and we try to drive slowly to play for time, time seems to pass at an even slower rate than usual.

As a child, a year felt like an eternity: school holidays, a birthday and Christmas always seemed far far away. Yet, the older I get, the faster the year seems to fly by. One moment we celebrate the New Year, the next we realise that once again Christmas is just around the corner. I once read an article where the writer put forward a scientific argument about time being faster now than before. True or not, my perception of time is definitely not the same as when I was a child. I often wonder why we feel so pressed for time? What is so urgent that we need to rush around all the time? Do we really need to be engaged in all the activities that fill up our days? Oh, we certainly can come up with long lists of things we have to do. And we are also clever in the way we justify the things we do: we need to earn money, provide for the future of our children, do our share for the community, etcetera, etcetera…

What would happen if we choose to deliberately slow down and re-focus our existence? Three years ago I did just that. From filling my days with the emotional turmoil and stresses of teaching high school kids the intricacies of Dramatic Arts, rushing from one activity to the next and never feeling satisfied with the amount of time I have spent on each project, I chose to become the master of my own time. Initially it was quite a shock to realise just how long a day really is. Slowing down took a while, but once I could start to enjoy emersing myself in whatever I was doing without the ever pressing sword of time hanging over my head and weighing my experience of the activity down, I could truly start focusing on just enjoying the moment. And what a surprise that was. Life started to become lighter and over the years a new sense of groundedness and centredness settled into my being. Oh, I still have my moments of panic when there is a lot to do, but by planning ahead and never filling my days with more than what I can comfortably handle, I always experience Time as my friend and not my enemy.

Slowing down meant that I had to look at the things I consider important and meaningful. I definitely had to compromise and do not nearly earn what I did as a teacher, but to me, money has never been the driving force of my existence. I certainly need it, and as life is becoming more expensive by the day, I do wonder at times if I shouldn’t rather go back to full-time teaching again. But then I remember why I walked away from it all in the first place, and I realise that I should trust that the Universe will provide abundantly in my daily needs. I also remind myself that by doing what I love, I will attract the financial rewards I need to live the kind of life I want.

I do not want my choices to be motivated by fear: fear of not having enough; fear of losing what I have (home, health, loved ones) or fear of not providing adequately for my old age. I am not saying that we shouldn’t plan for the future, but that our planning should not be motivated by fear. Instead, the way we plan our lives through the decisions we make should rather be based on trust and love. Surely this way, we will be able to create a life that is both a blessing to us and everyone around us.

Even if you cannot or do not want to change the bigger structure of your life, remember to make time to just “be”. Life is short and precious, so remember to take time to celebrate the beauty of your life, and to be grateful for the many blessings you receive daily. And don’t forget to find the time to tell the people you love how important they are to you.

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