I wrote once that time is an illusion. It goes by whether you like it or not. It passes whether you are productive or not, active or not, and regardless of your mood, location, health status, or the weather.
We all have a timer in our life and none of us knows when the last grain of sand will fall from the top of the time glass to the bottom.
Then I read a theory that suggested time does not exist. It described how it cannot go fast or slow and that we are continuously cycling through it, and not the other way around. Ie. time does not pass us by, we pass through time.
The image of standing on a travelator comes to mind. Like the ones you see in big airports that move you from one area or terminal to another. You are physically moving but standing still. Imagine you are traveling through long expansive corridors looking at all the images and scenarios around you, a comprehensive live mural if you like. What if this was your life and your timeline.
As you move along this walkway, you observe and sometimes engage with people or activities, short-term or long-term. And sometimes without even realising you find you have watched wonderful opportunities pass you by.
We all place importance on different things and we have different goals at different times. There is no right or wrong and they are forever fluid, changing depending on our circumstances and stage of life.
What’s important to you today might not be important to you in six months time. And what you are angry about or carrying around today probably won’t even be remembered six months from now.
The question, ‘how are you spending your time?’ is as important as, ‘where are you directing your energy?
If you ask me today what’s most important to me, it would be a different answer to the one I gave five or ten years ago. Today I have a stronger focus on making a difference and trying to make all my hours count for something. I am more conscious of my relationships and the dynamics with others.
My flexibility and freedom to decide how I spend my days without financial restraints, however, remains a high priority. Perhaps even more so today than it was then.
Our priorities change and are largely shaped by our experiences.
It was only a few short years ago that getting through the next 24 hours without falling apart would have been at the top of my list. Some days that was ALL I had on my list. Fast forward to today and I still have the occasional moment (we all do) that this remains a goal.
With the benefit of hindsight and experience, we get many opportunities to learn. I believe that as things unfold there is always a bigger purpose. In some cases, our past actions directly contribute to what we experience today. Other times, we just have to decide how we will respond to circumstances, where we have little or no control over them.
So how do you keep focussed on the important things in life?
I was taught many years ago to get into the habit of scheduling my time by creating recurring appointments that would happen every week. I was introduced to a ‘priority timeslot’ sheet which was broken up into hour and 2-hour blocks over the course of 7 days.
The idea was to block out the working hours eg. 9-5 Monday to Friday, and then schedule the important things in the hours that were left over. When I did this, I was surprised at how much time I actually had! It was then so much easier to figure out what was most important – and book it in.
Today I have a recurring weekly booking in my calendar to go to yoga. Yes, there have been occasions where I have missed my class but it has mostly come down to either circumstances out of my control, or where the parallel event or appointment is of a higher priority in that moment.
My point is, I don’t need to be reminded of yoga, I know what day and time it is on. BUT, I also know I am more likely to keep my commitment to practice if it’s staring at me every week. I am also less likely to book something else in at that timeslot.
So what about you? I know you’re busy. What if a being from another planet came to visit you, would it be obvious to them by looking at your schedule what’s important to you?
Maybe scheduling your priorities would help. Saying that quality time with loved ones is the most important thing and then spending 80+ hours a week working, leaving you exhausted, will screw with your head. There is no right or wrong answer, at the end of the day, we all make our own choices.
I also know from personal experience that saying one thing and doing another, diminishes your integrity.
It takes practice but it’s not as hard as you might think to booby trap yourself into success. Creating habits that contribute to what’s most important to you and changing habits that don’t, will make a big difference.
A teacher takes a large container and fills it to the top with large rocks.
“Is the container full?” he asks. “Yes” reply the students.
He then takes a cup of gravel and pours it into the container, shaking it as he goes and allowing the gravel to settle amongst the rocks. “What about now”?
The students are on to the teacher and reply “Probably not.”
He then takes a cup of sand and pours it into the container. “What about now?”
“No!” yell the students.
“Good.” He says. He then takes a jug of water and fills the container to the top until it overflows.
“Can anyone tell me what the point of this experiment is?”
One confident student answers, “No matter how full your schedule is, if you try hard you can fit more things in?”
“Good answer – but it’s more than that.” replies the teacher.
“The point is, if you don’t put the big rocks in first you’ll never be able to fit them in later.”
What if you knew you only had a limited amount of time left on earth, how would you fill up your container of life?
Oh, that’s right we DO all already know that we have a limited time on earth!
Life is a balance. It’s about doing what needs to be done but also spending time on the things that fill you up with joy, add value to others, and make a difference. It’s also about making time for the things that are important and always striving to become a new and improved version of yourself.
Dalya xx 💙