by Toni Steenson, Coraki, Australia
Time is of great significance in my everyday way of life. Time can either be my ally or my enemy. What decides if it is a support or an enemy of combat is my relationship with it. I have noticed I either allow time to dictate how life happens in front and / or around me, or it is something I can take charge of and direct how it affects me. For example I have noticed if I allow ample enough time for me to do something like get ready in the morning, then time is not an issue, in fact I end up with extra time. Whereas if I try to cram more into my morning than I can fit, I am always playing catch up, never being able to fulfill all it is I wanted to. So I can actually choose whether I have a stressful morning where I feel I am always running out of time with loose ends everywhere, or a relaxed morning where I am able to do all I have set out for myself, feeling like I have all the time in the world.
A huge part of feeling I have all the time in the world is making sure I am thinking about the activity I am physically doing at the time. So if I am brushing my teeth I am actually thinking about brushing my teeth, the way I am holding my toothbrush, how my gums feel being massaged by my toothbrush etc. I find when I have got caught up in the feeling of being busy, not having enough time and playing catch up, it can be hard to keep my mind with the activity at hand. If I give into my mind flitting from one subject to the next, it creates within me a sense of being busy and hectic. Even if I have a lot to do in my day, thinking about this at different points throughout the day, only contributes to a sense of overwhelm.
When I find myself doing this I now choose to bring my mind back to the activity I am doing at the time. I then choose to feel how my body feels in doing the activity and maybe even focus on the feeling of my breath in my lungs. For example if I am driving to work and I start thinking about all my day entails, when I catch myself doing this, I will bring my awareness to how my hands are holding onto the steering wheel, how my mouth / jaw feels, how I am sitting in my seat… the list can go on and on. As I bring my awareness to these things I make choices to change how I may be doing these things, becoming aware of how my body actually feels, and enjoying the feeling as I let go and surrender to just being with me in the moment I am in.
I have also noticed another thing about myself and my relationship with time, and that is I can use time to keep life complex, over-full and stressed. How do I do this? Well, really well at times! I know what I can and cannot do in a day but sometimes I notice I will choose to deliberately overfill my day.
I have noticed I actually choose to do this because there is something happening in my life that I do not want to address. By overfilling my day I have an infinite amount of reasons for why I am feeling stressed, so many reasons in fact that I am able to actually avoid the real reason I am not feeling myself. I recently needed to speak with someone about how I was feeling and I was worried how this may pan out, so rather than speak to them I went into the process of overfilling my day, which led to the overwhelm. I chose to see the overwhelm as my issue, rather than feeling and resolving the original issue of not speaking about how I felt.
So I have learnt I can be a calculated manipulator of time or I can be a creator of time. It is my choice and it is as simple and as joy-full as allowing myself to feel my body in whatever it is I am doing at the time.