The Gift of Time

Over the last month, I’ve written to you about staying in presence and through this practice radically loving yourself. How’s it going, darling? Have you been able to sink into the glorious space that is you? If not every day, maybe just a moment of each day? Have you learned anything as you’ve stayed there? Personally, in the practice of living in presence, I’ve realized that not only do I have a quality of life more aligned with my integrity, but I’ve also begun to have a better relationship with time itself. You heard me right, time. I don’t know about the rest of you,  but for the longest time, I felt as though it was my enemy. I grew up modeling my parent’s view of time, which is that there is never enough. Time was taught to me as something that was in short supply and something we were all working against. Yet as I’ve sat in presence, I’ve come to realize that time is truly the only thing that we can count on. Let me say more.

You Can Always Count on Time

I’m not sure where to begin, except I suppose where I am now and my understanding of time. You see I’m new to our relationship and the absolute gift time gives to all of us. As I’ve slipped out of my controlling mind (Ok, slipped is much too gentle of a word…) I’ve found that I had a lot of my happiness wagered on time. When I left presence and slipped into control I was hoping to create an outcome I could not see yet. I began to try and predict and influence how my future would turn out through my use of control. The control could be something as small as an email pushing for an outcome I wanted as large as trying to change the behaviors of those around me. Not cool control! Not cool. Through the belief that I could control what my life was going to look like I also believed that I needed to speed through time to get to that outcome. In looking at time this way (as a barrier to the outcome I wanted), I began to resent time.

In addition to believing that I needed to get to the future, I also brought my resentment towards time to my daily life. Time was something that there was either never enough or always too much of. I grappled with how to create a daily routine so that I would not be in a battle with time and was still left… well fighting time. I either couldn’t get everything done that I wanted to do or I was bored out of my mind. Time, I couldn’t speed it up to predict the future. I wanted and did make it the near enemy of my day. We were not good friends, time and I.

Have you ever struggled with time? Looked at where you are in your life and said, “Nope, this is not it time, something should be different by now.” Or woken up in the middle of the night with a list longer than you can imagine and think, “How the hell am I ever going to get all that done?” Or crossed everything off of your list hoping to feel accomplishment only to feel bored and alone? Then quickly creating a new “something to do,” that puts you back in the loop of waking up in the middle of the night in a panic? I know I have. It’s a maddening battle I’ve come to realize I cannot win. I’ve picked a battle with the only thing that is absolute in life; time.

Time is Here… Waiting

As I’ve become more intentional about living in presence, something radical has begun to happen. I began to start a new relationship with time. It happened slowly, as my kind teacher of time-pressed against my controlling mind. First in breaths, then in moments, now in days. Where instead of pressing against time, I welcomed it in. I held a breath against my chest, counted the exhale to match the inhale, and said hello to what is here. As I said hello to what is here, I realized that each moment of our life is here. Each millisecond on earth is a millisecond that will never be again. As I was trying to speed through the outcome of my life, I was missing my life. I don’t know about you, but that is something I am not willing to miss. Not my life, the life of my children, my family, or my friends. I don’t want to spend my time rushing away from my presence hoping that somehow my future will look different. I want to lean into the life in front of me and drink whatever delicious season I am in. And when life is not, well, delicious I want to trust that time will heal my wounds so long as I live with my integrity. Trust me, I know what it feels like to have everything falling apart only to wish life would speed up so the pain would end. Only now do I see that time was part of the healing journey, a necessary companion.

My new relationship with time isn’t perfect; I’ve just begun to realize time is not my enemy, but the only constant I can truly know will show up for me until the breath leaves my body. Even then time will go on beyond me. But in this new relationship of seeing time as my companion, I’ve been able to live in a way where I’m able to appreciate what is in front of me moment by moment of each day.

Sometimes that means making a hard decision in the moment not knowing the outcome but knowing I stayed true to my integrity. Sometimes that means burying my head in the newly shampooed hair of my children, or brushing my thumb against their cheeks and drinking them in. And sometimes it means sitting in my sorrow, tending to and befriending it to provide the care my soul needs. During this practice time wraps her arms around me and tells me, I am here. Knowing that time is here I can sink into myself waiting for the adventure of tomorrow.

Jessie Cooper

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