Will You Even Have Time to Read This?


Recently, a client shared with me this theory about time speeding up as we approach 2012...how 24 hours is now equivalent to 18, and is to continue on this diminishing trend.

Besides the experience of always feeling behind, I wasn't quite sure what to make of this - beyond my belief that maybe it's more of an internal experience than an external one.

Think about it. We already know that we have way-too-long to-do lists and agendas. The multitasking gadgetry marketed to make this more manageable has only served to fill up every nook and cranny of our wakeful awareness. We carry around access to the world wherever we go...ever-available to phone calls, text messages, email ... some form of stimulation disguised as productivity.

They say that time flies when you're having fun, but I'm not sure we're finding enjoyment so much as avoidance. Time also flies when we're sound asleep.

Do you know what makes time seem immeasurably long? Pain. Discomfort. Waiting. Longing. Silence. Boredom. These are all experiences we rarely allow ourselves anymore. Stores are open 24/7. Just when we thought instant gratification couldn't get any instanter, we have automatic downloads, overnight delivery, and virtual connection to anyone at anytime. And even then, it's not just one experience at a time. We gather with friends and family, only to divide our attention between them and a screen.

The paradox is fascinating... filling our awareness with so many things at once is almost like being unconscious. Not to mention the perpetual drain on our nervous systems.

We're leaving ourselves no white space, no room to breathe. No permission to feel uncomfortable.Not only do we grow more numb, but as our attention is drawn further outside of ourselves, we lose touch with our centers... the sweet disquiet of being in our own skin, with all its sensory pricklings ... pleasure, pain, and more.I'll be the first to admit that I'm guilty of succumbing to the allure and entitlement of the convenient and accessible (google is god, after all), and feeling somehow gypped and whiny when it's not available.

This is why I love attending Quaker Meeting. A blessed but brief hour of silence, or at least just only my own noisy thoughts, except for those rare occasions when I'm able to reach the pool of deep silence within me. It's also why I love a good snowstorm. Everything shuts down, nowhere to go and no choice but to hunker down and just be ... (hopefully with the internet connection still available... :).

We won't ever get more time to accommodate all the things we keep filling it up with. We can, however, reclaim a little of it. If you must be doing something, do just one thing. Feel the angst of sitting in traffic. Write a letter (one that requires a stamp) to someone and wait for the reply. Leave the phone home when you visit a friend. Sit in a doctor's office without picking up something to read or type.Allow yourself to just wait for something, and find joy in the anticipation.

Resist the urge to fill the white space with something outside of yourself. Feel the discomfort of being inside your own skin ... allow it to eventually make way for an experience of presence and of 'coming home'... and of having just enough time for everything.