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While on the slopes, one day socked in and having trouble seeing a few feet in front of me while another day relishing the fresh powder, I was, well, skiing. Thoughts of work, of bills to pay, of decisions to be made at the office or at home–were fleeting thoughts if they were present at all. I was on vacation, enjoying friends, challenging my body to move, experiencing nature and the changes in the weather each day.

I experienced a permission of sorts to be on vacation, to ‘vacate’ my common concerns and be in relaxation mode. Yet upon return to ‘daily life,’ all the stops were gone! Or as a colleague has noted, “Vacation seems so far away when you come back to a busy schedule.”

Perhaps you’ve had an experience like this yourself, where just when you think you’re settling in to a nice rhythm or pace, perhaps hoping to ‘hold on to’ that nice relaxed feeling you experienced over the weekend—at home or even out of town, or while on a vacation, and then ‘poof’, it’s gone and you’re left to find yourself into the next week already!

Once catapulted into that next week you may’ve found yourself staring squarely at a long to-do list, eyeing all the things you believe you must do. It can be overwhelming.  And, the pleasant moments from your vacation, and the sense of satisfaction they bring, somehow cease to exist except upon later review with friends.

As I’ve pondered here previously, time is a construct that we use to orient our lives yet we’re not entirely clear on what will be most effective.

We either try to ‘hold onto’ those moments of relaxation or reflection, those feelings of well-being, or  having given up our ‘lives,’ if you will, we try and manage, structure or control the minutes and seconds of ‘our’ time, a thankless, impossible prospect, yet one most of us try on a daily basis.

You see, we’ve bought into this notion that ‘I don’t have enough time,’ and/or ‘there’s simply too much to do’, and having been fully seduced by this belief, we fall prey to its implications:

  • I must cram my day full of all that I must do, and I will rush around to make sure it’s all complete
  • Or, I attempt in some way to manage my tasks and time
  • Or, I do the opposite and clearly let things go, only to later wonder and doubt myself and my decisions.
  • Conversely, I will drop down, exhausted, and resign myself to what seems the inevitable—there just is not enough time for all I have to do. Period. And, it must mean something about me that I cannot manage, control, complete all that’s scheduled for the day.

This is where we get stuck.

Instead of being in this moment, we think we ought to be somewhere else, doing something else—at the meeting, at the soccer game, making dinner, cleaning out the garage.  What other decisions could I possibly make? We don’t stop to examine the assumption that any of it has to do with ‘doing’ at all.

Right now, in reading this and feeling it resonate in your body, go ahead and just realize that in this current moment, this one, you actually have another option (this will only take a few minutes, I promise).

Stand up, take a deep breath, step one step back and take another breath. Feel fully into your self, your body, and if you like, take yet another breath and another step back.

From this vantage point, a few steps back and with a bit more breath to support you, what do you notice going on in your body? Your thinking? Your mood?

Who sets the busy schedule?  Who organizes around it? What determines who listens to the schedule?

What if it’s not that we don’t have enough time at all, rather that we fill our lives so full, without permission to ‘not do,’ that we lose sight of, lose experience of this very moment?

What if the thing to work with is not time, as time is elusive, yet rather it’s our Self? How does one learn to work with the self, to be in the moments that we’re actually in—right now?  This very moment—if we could give ourselves permission to be here—in this very moment, what would that be like?