How do you think about time?
Do you wish you had more time? Do you ever think you don't have enough time to get everything done? I've been thinking about how I think about time. Part of my awareness has included trying to change the way I talk about time. I often catch myself saying things like:
I don't have enough time
I wish I had more time
I wish I had more energy
I need to hurry - I don't have much time
I should have more time next week
Yes, I have actually said the last line. As if suddenly time will expand and I'll magically have more time next week or next month. I often say, "Next month looks good - I've got lots of time available then."
I am starting to challenge myself by becoming aware of how often I mention time in this way. I do have time. I have the same amound of time as everyone else. It's not time that is the problem. It's how I think about it. Once I've started to think about it as a problem, I start to take action to try and fix the problem. And the amount of time I have is not the problem. The problem is deeper.
I have been considering what a soul-centered approach to time would look like. I think that there are three areas that can really support living in a way that is soul-centered. They are rhythms, rituals and routines. All three are important. This week I want to focus on the area of rhythms.
Rhythms are more fluid than rituals and routines. They are unique to each person. You probably have a natural rhythm to your life. Maybe you are a night person or a morning person. Maybe you are an extravert or an introvert. You may have high energy or low energy. You might need lots of time to reflect or you may just like to go from event to event needing very little recovery time. What is true of rhythms is that they can help us really live in harmony with ourselves and in our communities. You start to make choices rooted in your unique rhythms, fully conscious of your values, and in alignment with what is really most important to you.
One of the ways you can become aware of your life rhythms is to take a calendar and map out the next twelve months. I know it is already April but you can start it anytime. Perhaps April is the perfect time to start living in rhythm with your soul!
Here are some suggestions for you to help you complete the overview so you can focus on the rhythm of the year.
1. Note any significant dates you are aware of in the next year. They can include birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, graduations, holy days and holidays you observe, events you want to make sure you attend. Really think about these dates - are they actually important to you or do you feel like you 'should' participate?
2. Write down any seasonal rhythms that you want to be aware of that may influence your life. I try to not schedule much in January. It's a long, dark month where I live. I hate going out when it is really cold or snowy at night. Rather than fight it I accept that I won't be as social in January. I also write down 'salsa making' in September and 'make strawberry jam' in June. These things are important to me and I want to make sure they are noted. I note the full moon and new moon each month as well. This year in April I have a note on my calendar that say, "plant calendula seeds a few weeks before the last frost." I saved seeds from my first calendula plants last year and I want to make sure to use them!
3. What do you want to do? Now think about what you would love to experience in the next 12 months. Do you want to learn something new? Do you want to spend more time outdoors? Do you want to go somewhere special? Go to more theatre or art galleries? What are those things that you 'wish you had more time for?" Add them to your grid. You now have a fairly good picture of what the next twelve months look like from a life flow perspective. But to really live a soul-centered life you need to go a little deeper. Get out your journal and start writing in response to this prompt: "I want...."
4. What do you want? Who do you want to be? What do you want to have? What do you want to give? What dreams or desires do you have for your life? Where do you feel most deeply satisfied in your life? Where do you feel most disconnected? These questions help you get to your soul-center. Only you can answer them. And once you have an idea of what you want then you can start to look at your calendar and think about how you can add those things into your life.
I know you want to live a soul-centered life. You want to make choices to honour that which is deepest within you. If you are feeling stuck in your life or like you are living in reaction to all the demands other people have of your time, reach out to me. I work with women to help them figure out what is most important to them and then start living from their center. Here's the truth - you'll never be able to have complete control over every aspect of your life. The best you can do in an uncertain world is live from your center - even when things seem out of control. You can have the peace of knowing that you have been intentional about your choices. And you'll have rhythms, rituals and routines to support you through life challenges. Join me in thinking about time differently. You have all the time you need today. Let your soul be your guide.