image of a vanishing clock

How many times this week you found yourself gasping for air, checking your watch and worried about not being able to meet all your obligations? How many to-do lists do you have around your house? How many items are you actually able to cross off that list?

We all live very busy lives, with more obligations than time. But how many of those obligations actually bring us joy?

The concept of time has has been really challeginng me lately – it has my entire life, actually.

I am always in a hurry. I always have the perception or belief that there’s not enough time to do everything. There’s not enough time to fully concentrate on anything or relax into anything. I always feel like I am 10 steps behind.

And how does that affect me?

For one thing, I feel like I am never truly present. Slowing down and taking my time to enjoy any given task feels like a luxury.

That stems from the need to be all things to all people. The feeling that we always need to meet everyone’s needs and expectations, whatever they may be. Can’t let people wait. Answer the call, reply to the text/ email. Get stuff done, cross one item off that long to-do list.

The quest for perfection

We all have some need for control: who doesn’t dream of a perfectly orderly home, with a place for everything and everything in its place? Delicious dinner ready on time, fresh laundered sheets in our beds, a clean house, perfectly balanced check book, vacations planned years in advance – no surprises.

If we learned anything from the past 2 years (with COVID) is that, in reality, we have very little control over anything.

The quest for perfection and the need for control go hand in hand. If we let go of one, the other one tends to dissolve. Knowing that we are imperfect beings living a spiritual experience may help. We are not meant to be perfect. We are here to learn, grow and evolve. And we learn by making mistakes, we grow by forgiving ourselves for those mistakes and we evolve by embracing our humanity.

The importance of being present

Last week I started this exercise. I invite you to try it: any time I felt overwhelmed and angry because “there was not enough time”, I tried to take a step back, take a deep breath and repeat this mantra several times: THERE IS ENOUGH TIME.

Sounds simple, yes? It is!

But it requires practice. It’s like strengthening a muscle that hasn’t been used in many years. It’ll get sore before it gets strong.

Breathing is another way to bring ourselves to the present moment. A 2-3 minute pause can really make a difference. Inhale, exhale, ground and slow down. Slow inhales, long exhales. Try a few rounds, see how it feels.

Grounding ourselves

Another good practice is to try and ground ourselves when our minds are taking us here and there, not settling on anything. Bring both your feet to the floor, place your hands on your knees, close your eyes and just feel the weight of your body. Feel your feet touching the floor. Feel the texture of your clothes, the quality of the air, invite everything in without judgment. Listen to the sounds, notice the smells and tastes. Then, find your breath. Open your eyes, and take in the colors and shapes. Connect with your breath for a moment or so. Now you are here, you’ve fully arrived. Welcome! Spend some time with you, noticing the present moment.

Creating community

Another way to ease overwhem is by creating stronger connections. It’s so important to spend time (whether in person or online) with like-minded people, who can offer us support and remind us of how similar we all are. When we make ourselves fully present and available to others, we tend to get out of our own heads a little. Call an old friend, start an online bookclub, meet a friend for coffee. Put that phone away for a minute, turn off the sound and just be there for that person. We all like to be heard and cared for.

Looking for more ways to connect with others?

On Thursday, February 3rd at 6pm, we will start our first Satsang. This is a free event, open to all. We will do a short guided meditation, then read/ discuss passages of the Tao Te Ching, and explore practical ways to let go and find connection to the universe. This will be an in-person event at our Lyndhurst studio.