The time it takes for things to happen.
Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? It’s amazing.
When I visited a number of years ago, I walked up and stood at the rim, and tears began streaming down my face for the sheer awesomeness of it all.
Being there was also like coming face to face with Time. Not simply looking back in time, as the sedimentary layers reveal the epochs of life that once were.
But that we are part of that larger timeline, too. And this gorgeous, outrageous natural wonder reminds us that All Things on this planet are subject to time, life cycles, and weather.
In the case of erosion, time is an alchemical agent. You need time to elapse in order to reveal the wonders beneath the surface layer: the transmutation of earth shaped by water into a holy revelation.
But let’s be frank. I don’t have millions of years!
Christmas is less than two weeks away, I’ve got a gajillion Things To Do, three bajillion unfinished projects, an empire to build, Adrian’s birthday party to plan, an inbox of pending emails, and this day is already ticking down! Tut tut!
Alas, our contemporary version of time has created a little bit of a nightmare. I think we could possibly rework a little bit of Dante’s Inferno, as we seem to have created some contemporary circle of hell in which we are trapped by the scarcity of time. Let’s call it Time Hell.
Why do things seem to take so very long when we need them to happen now, and there is never enough time!
One of the most difficult lessons I have learned in this past year was not how to “slow down.” It was to recognize that I was in Time Hell. An unconscious victim of my own making (ok, some capitalism and legit societal conditioning, too), constantly grasping at the future, erasing the past, and resisting the present.
Which meant that every single project, task, idea, desire, vision, and creative exploration turned into a rush job at Staples. I need this ASAP! Please and thank you!
This rush mode is a kind of productivity. It’s a little sloppy. It caused a lot of misery. (God forbid I had to stop and, like, edit something.)
Add to that the fact that my brain signals shoot around at the speed of light (yours, too), and the outside world never, ever seems to be able to catch up. So my brain took over all the jobs, not willing to let the Flow of Life catch up.
But this endless time entrapment runs counter to the desire that we all have to actually flourish in our lives. Not simply execute the deeds and tasks, but to harvest deep gladness, wholeness, and fulfillment throughout each day, week, month, and year.
So how does that happen?
Like the alchemist, we must learn to how to create with time, rather than be victimized by it. Time is an agent for us, not a punishment.
Ask yourself: how may I allow this very moment to be the sacred unfolding of my very own flourishing?
That will create a very different experience than: oh crap. I’m late!
I’m not gonna lie… the trickiest bit about time is to get in front of it, rather than get dragged behind it.
And you can have as many fancy productivity planners and scheduling apps as you please. But until you recognize that you are the rightful and willing shaper of your own experience, then you may continue to feel a little behind the times.
It’s a process of waking up, noticing whatever time hell you’ve created, undoing the time scarcity mindset, and realigning to the new role of Intentional Time User.
That’s ok. It takes time to use time wisely.
Then again, it might only take a sec.