Maybe you don’t need more time

Let me start with this:

5 minutes ago I was sitting on my couch writing this blog with a very strong need to use the bathroom. It is 6:47 am and I am acutely aware that my daughter is going to wake up within the next 15 minutes. I have set a goal to finish a blog every day for the next 60 days and I am a person who likes, no needs to hit the targets I set for myself. So there I was wiggling on the couch trying to pump this out, adding a whole lot of stress and distraction to my time-sensitive goal, when in fact taking a few minutes to pee actually will help me to stay clear and focused.

Ironically, my topic for today is about the concept of time and stress and how each is very independent experiences yet they influence one other in such a profound way. So often we think to ourselves if I just had more time then I would be less stressed.  We blame lack of time for the cause of our stress taking away our power to present in our day.  We can’t control the passing of time but we can certainly be mindful of how we use our time.

How we experience any moment in time is a direct reflection of our beliefs, thoughts and physical reaction to that moment. If we are feeling calm, centred and grounded then time seems to be on our side, we move through our day with ease and presence. In contrast, if we feel agitated, frustrated and rushed then the minutes seem to race by with a feeling of “not enough”.

My daughter, like most kids, can so easily get distracted. I will ask her to get her socks, she will make eye contact, nod her head and then proceeds to put on her ladybug costume and start doing cartwheels. God bless her imagination and her ability to be in the moment but child we need to go! I found myself always demanding she hurry up, which only made the situation much worse.

In her efforts to rush, her socks would be put on wrong causing her to have a meltdown or her tolerance for me to brush her hair would be at a minimum. I realized that telling my little girl to move faster was not working and what I really needed from her was to focus. So now when I see her rushing in a response to less time, in a calm and gentle voice (most of the time), I say “focus not fast”. This has become our new family mantra and not surprisingly this simple cue (that now she often says to me) can get us back in the moment.

All great advice but how the heck am I supposed to slow things down in the middle of a mad rush. The power we have at any moment is breath, we can shift a chaotic, busy morning to a focused, centred experience by just taking a few breaths. When we breathe in and out for a count of 8 our body can shifts from stress to a relaxation response.

Another benefit from these deep breaths is we make space to see different options. Something that seemed absolutely non-negotiable just moments before no longer seems so important, I don’t actually need to go to that meeting instead I can ask my colleagues to take notes or perhaps I will buy the cupcakes for the bake sale, I don’t need to make them from scratch.

Friends, I am not saying this is easy, getting the kids fed, dressed, teeth brushed (50% of the time, lunches made, dog walked all before 8:00 am is a mountain that sometimes seems impossible to climb. It is, however, worth the effort to intend to empower ourselves to stay one step ahead of your nervous system by finding small spaces in what was seems like one overlapping activity to another.

The impact is an overall feeling that we have more time, even when there have been no changes in the minutes.