As I sit here and stare at the blank page, I begin to look at the word “time” in a different way. Sure, I need to get this blog post written because I’m past the time of my deadline. Then I think about where the time has gone, it is almost the end of another year. I also think about a lot of different lyrics to songs and poems.
Just pondering on the word “time” puts into perspective how different it is for everyone.
One of my favorite songs by Jim Croce, “Time in a Bottle,” has a profound message that is repeated throughout the song. After my father died from pancreatic cancer in 2005, the lyrics of that song resonated deeply for me: “There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do.”
At that time, my bucket list of things to do, to create, and to engage with, overflowed. Knowing all too well that I would never be able to complete everything, I looked at time as a way to really consider what matters.
There is a lot of information floating around the Internet about time; how to manage it, how to block it, how to engage in it, how to save it and how to reflect about it. Why, in fact, Hope Grows provided a blog article mid-November about how to stay stress-free around the holidays, so I guess that would be considered time management.
All good stuff, but I think we still miss the point regarding the word “time” and what it really means.
The Present Moment
I think “time” is most important in the present moment, living mindfully in that moment. Have you ever had someone give their attention to you? The feeling that you were the only thing that mattered and that they really listened to what you were saying? The person wasn’t distracted, looking somewhere else, at their watch or on their phone?
If you have had that kind of attention, in the moment, you are lucky. What the person was doing was what we call active listening. They were giving 100% of their attention to you. How did that feel? I know that for me the feeling is amazing.
Another way of thinking about time is through Mindfulness Meditation. With the theme for the Hope Grows ThinkCaregiver™ Simple Self-Care Suggestions being about time this month, I decided to spend some of it engaging in Mindfulness Meditation.
In reflection back to that time, the three weeks I spent engaging in a 21-day meditation exercise and the commitment this devoted time took for me to complete was insightful.
In search of scientific proof of the concept of time perception and mindfulness meditation, a plethora of information is available. Many psychological studies revealed that the effects of a mindfulness practice, such as Mindfulness Meditation produced the feeling of short periods of time lasting longer. I have to say that although I was and have never been a part of such studies, during the 21 days that I engaged in meditation, I did feel as if time was moving at a slower pace.
I think, too, for me, with my attention being completely focused on the present moment, my awareness of time was less hurried. I don’t know about you, but as I go through life wanting to accomplish my “bucket list” of overflowing ideas, having the perception of time moving at a slower pace is worth exploring.
If you don’t meditate, I encourage you to try. It takes time to develop a practice and like all different forms of exercise, requires dedication for it to become part of your daily routine. With the holidays approaching and having an overflowing number of things on your “to do” list, consider taking the time to engage in the here and now for at least 10-15 minutes each day.