Time

Time.

What a fascinating concept. When I stop and really think about it, I am intrigued by what comes up for me. There is the language used to describe time. There are various perspectives about time. And, there is my personal relationship with time.

Have you taken note of the way Time is described in everyday communication?

  • Time is running out
  • Time flies
  • Time slips away
  • Where does the time go?
  • Don’t waste time!
  • There is never enough time
  • Time’s up!

These phrases bring up a sense of urgency and anxiety for me. I feel pressured to get things done and to race through my day in order to ‘beat the clock’.

There is the often the expectation to produce more in less time. I find myself getting caught up in the attitude that says, ‘Faster is better.’ Multi-tasking becomes the norm.

Time is seen as the enemy.

With this mindset, I measure my worth by what I accomplish, and I wear my badge of ‘busy-ness’ with pride. All the while, I am exhausted and weary. Is this how I want to live my life? No, it is not!

I wonder…….are there other ways to view time?

What would it be like to see time as a gift? Each moment would be precious and I could be a partner with time.

Here are some of my perspectives on time:

  1. Focusing on the process rather than just the goal

    When I take a project one step at a time, and slow down to notice what is happening right now, I am able to see time as my ally. The goal is still in front of me. However, I am not pushing through at all cost and at top speed. I remind myself that nature has cycles. Flowers blossom at exactly the right time. The ordinary tasks of my day have a rhythm as well. The art of slowing down and pacing myself allow me to ‘enjoy the journey’. I am not at the mercy of the clock!

  2. I prioritize my tasks for the day

    This is another way I have shifted my relationship with time. I consider what I have committed to do and I choose what is most important at the moment. Perhaps not everything will get done today. Will it really matter? I have something to say about that. I choose not to be a victim of my ‘to-do list’.
    I learn to ask for help. Time expands when I am in partnership with others and I don’t have to do it all on my own.

  3. Pleasure becomes my guide.

    You may wonder how pleasure relates to time. When I pay attention to what I enjoy doing, I am energized and get things done with ease. This includes the tasks that may be seen as dreary or a ‘necessary evil’. For me, this means doing one thing at a time.
    Chopping vegetables mindfully while preparing a pot of soup becomes a reflective experience.
    Cleaning the bathroom while listening to blues music at top volume adds a sense of play to an often thankless chore. Writing a blog post with candles burning and and sipping a fresh cup of coffee adds joy to my project.
    Time slows down when I notice my breathing and consciously breathe deeply. When I spend time with my grandchildren and their newborn kittens, I am in a place of ‘timelessness’. A walk in the woods helps me to be present and reminds me of the beauty of each moment.

My personal relationship with Time

I see myself in the early stages of my relationship with Time. We are new to this idea of being in partnership. I am experimenting with seeing time as my friend and ally. I am hopeful that as we continue to connect in this way, I will change my language and my attitude. Rather than saying, ‘I don’t have time to do that’, I will say, ‘I am choosing to do this, rather than that.’ I am excited to be at choice, rather than be controlled by the tyrant of time.

This time of year can be an especially tricky season. Christmas and holiday expectations are linked to the lack of time to get it all done. I look forward to how my view of Time will give me renewed peace and joy.

I have many more questions about Time.

  • Why does time seem to go faster the older I get?
  • How do I relax about time when I know I am finite?
  • How do I learn to trust myself as I choose to be in partnership with Time?

Perhaps you have questions too.

What is your perspective on time? How do you slow down in life? I would love to hear how you are in partnership with Time.
Feel welcome to share your ideas and questions in the comments.

The Rewards of Receiving

Learning to receive has been a challenge for me over the years. Kind of like learning a new language. The act of receiving does not come naturally for me. I translate from my ‘original language’ of Marjorie, the Helper. I stop, take a breath and choose to speak the ‘foreign’ language of Receiving.

Why have I chosen to learn this new way of being? Why not embrace my role as a Helper and leave the receiving to others?

When I enrolled in the coaching program that I graduated from, I was introduced to the concept of receiving. I found that there were significant reasons for me to learn more.

Here are the reasons why it is now an integral part of my life and the rewards of receiving I have discovered.

  1. Receiving reconnects me with my feminine energy

    I have spent most of my life accessing my masculine energy. It was an integral part of me managing my role as the primary wage earner of our family. It kept me organized, drove me to succeed and push through obstacles. These are positive attributes and they served me well. I am proud of what I accomplished over the years.

    However, when I retired from my full time profession, I faced the uncertainty of my future. I intuitively knew there was another aspect to living my life. I explored the idea of ‘being’ rather than just ‘doing’. This highlighted the concept of receiving. Feminine energy flows. It is open to what is offered. It senses when to take action from the soul. This action includes receiving in a variety of forms.

  2. Receiving means reaching out with vulnerability and humility

    Receiving is a vulnerable act. When I receive, I admit that I can not do it alone. At first, I
    struggled with pride. I wanted to come across as strong and capable.

    Then I realized that asking for help is a sign of strength. The paradox of ‘finding strength in weakness’ transformed my view of receiving. I found healing and a deepening of connection with others.

  3. Receiving leads to richness of relationships

    I have come to understand that when I receive from others, I am part of what I call the ‘gift exchange’.

    A gift is not a gift unless it is received.

    How do I receive?
    • I say yes to a cup of coffee offered to me by a friend (or a stranger!)
    • When I get a compliment I respond with a simple ‘thank you’
    • I am able to ask for what I need without apology

    As I receive, I honour the person who is offering me their gift. This flow of giving and receiving is the basis of creating and maintaining community. Sometimes I give. And sometimes I receive. We are in this together as we participate in this dance.

  4. Renewal and rejuvenation result from receiving

    One of the big benefits of receiving has been the renewed energy I feel. I realize I am not alone! I am no longer pushing myself to get things done, no matter what. I pay attention to my energy and health. I seek support when I need it.

Today I experienced the joy of receiving. Over a yummy lunch, I shared my concerns about an issue in my life. I chose to admit my worry. I reached out with humility and vulnerability. The ‘gift exchange’ happened when I said what I desired, and I received my friend’s loving reflections. I left our time together with a lightness in my step and a sense of possibility in my heart. And, my friend expressed her gratitude for our time together, telling me that she felt privileged to support me.

I want to continue to practice the art of receiving. I look forward to the time when it no longer seems like a foreign language to me.

What is your experience of receiving? Is it your ‘first language’? Or do you find it takes intention and practice in your life? I look forward to hearing your reflections.

An Autumn Experiment and What I Learned

I have spent many hours learning about my personality over the years. I am intrigued by the results of different assessments in which I have participated. Common themes have emerged and I find myself wondering, ‘How did they know that about me? How is it that these results fit so closely to who I am?’

I have come to realize that I am energized by time with others. I love to reach out and connect with a variety of people on a regular basis. I am also someone who feels happy when I am helping others. My nursing career was a perfect fit for me. My sense of purpose and identity in life was linked to the ways in which I contributed to others’ well being.

I want to celebrate these aspects of my personality. My life is rich and full because of the many friends I have. I am proud of all the people I have helped in my life. As a life coach, I continue to fulfill my role as a helper with my clients.

And, I have learned that there is another perspective.

I have become aware of the ‘shadow side’ of who I am. Certain aspects of my behaviour no longer satisfy me. There are times I feel restless when I am with people for too long. I don’t always want to be the one to plan an event or reach out to others.

As a person who is a ‘helper’, I see so many needs around me. I don’t always have the energy to be supportive. I wonder, ‘Why am I weary? Am I paying attention to what Marjorie needs?’

At other times I may offer help and it is not accepted. Who am I if no one wants my help? This prompts me to ask myself, ‘Why am I really helping? Is it for others’ approval? Or is it given from my heart, with no need for a specific response?’

With awareness comes the choice to act differently.

I do not enjoy seeing this side of myself! I want to focus on the fun, playful, friendly, helpful parts of me. And, yet, I know that ignoring these ‘shadows’ will not foster a sense of integrity and wholeness deep within myself.

One of my favourite tools in learning about my self is the Enneagram. The book, ‘The Wisdom of the Enneagram‘ by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, looks at the psychological and spiritual growth of the nine personality types of the Enneagram Assessment tool.

As I have studied this book, and thought about how I show up in my world, I have been prompted to try an experiment. Here are some questions I was asked to explore in order to experience another way of being. I have many aspects to my personality and this is a way for me to try a new way of behaving.

The first question was:

What would happen if I put aside my list of people to contact and spent some quality time alone?

My initial reaction was a sense of anxiety. What would quality time alone look like? What if my friends thought I was ignoring them?

I chose to give this a try in spite of my resistance.

I realized that I enjoy my own company. I read a novel with my morning coffee and walked in the early morning light. I lingered along the way, taking photos of the brilliant colours reflected in the water. I paid attention to my energy and chose to have a nap after lunch. My pattern has been to push through any tiredness, instead of pausing to rest. I thought about my family and let go of planning the next event.

Today was for me.

Because of this experiment, I feel rested and peaceful. I will be ready to reach out with renewed energy tomorrow. Or maybe next week………

The second question was:

How can I be aware of my ‘secondary motivations’ to help people and be appreciated for what I have done?’

This is a challenging experiment for me. I am hesitant to admit that my motives may be selfish as I offer help or seek appreciation from others.

I focused on this last week. As I noticed the patterns and saw my habitual responses to life, I caught myself in the act and I chose to release myself from the shadow side of my personality type. I practiced giving without expecting a specific response. I checked in with myself before I offered assistance to be sure I was truly giving from a place of love, and not to be noticed for the ‘helpful’ person that I am. I was surprised how established my usual patterns are. And, I am also happy to say that I have the ability to change. With awareness comes the choice to act differently.

I wonder what your personality preferences are? Have you experimented with acting out of character?

What ‘shadows’ have you noticed in your life?

Post a comment or send me a message with your insights and thoughts. What gives me courage to keep going is knowing I am not alone!