Ever feel like things are not going as fast as you might like?  Or alternatively, that they are going too fast?  Maybe there is a goal you are working toward that you just wish would “hurry up already” and get accomplished, or you are trying to get your bearings because the pace of the world around you feels like you are stuck in a whirlybird ride at the State Fair?  If so you are not alone.

Time management is a practice we all engage in.  Without it nothing would get done, happen or grow. Also without it we might find things to be chaotic, intimidating, and even feel lost.  Wherever you fall on the spectrum of how controlling our relationship with our calendars should be, the reality is that we all have to manage our time, or our time manages us.  

Either our schedules are be ruled by external forces, like that of a job or family demands, OR we free fall because we have few demands on our time, and we are just as lost as those who are dutifully but vacantly following along with their day-to-day infrastructure.  There are as many versions of these hypotheticals as there are human beings on the Earth.  And since this issue is ubiquitous without pride or prejudice for any particular cohort, at a minimum I think we can agree that time is an awesome resource, and quite likely our most valuable one.

I have lived most of my adult life in the camp of having little or no “free” time for various reasons from having a special needs adult child at home to pursuing a corporate career in sales leadership.  And since retiring last summer, I find myself with so much free time I am at times, literally uncomfortable.

One of the biggest challenges is that having free time means my mind is less preoccupied, and also more vulnerable.  Instead of my daily cadence consisting of service to others through home or work responsibilities, I am now availed of the “time” and freedom to do what I wish.  And it seems many of the activities I choose, are complicated with an unrealistic expectation of just how long it can take projects, change, and evolution to show up.

When I worked non-stop in Corporate America, I did not have space in my life to ask why something wasn’t happening faster, or why I couldn’t expedite results.  I had to roll with the schedules that made up every 24 hour period and get up the next day and do it all over again.  Goals were reached, and also missed, but the difference is that I didn’t spend any time trying to control the speed of these outcomes.  

I didn’t have it to spend, so I literally stayed focused on the next task, and marveled at the accomplishments that inevitably showed up (like a promotion) and also felt the disappointment of something falling through (like a missed revenue goal.). I was able to witness these outcomes without getting too engulfed in emotions, since I was always in the throws of a rigorous schedule and what was coming next.

Six months after retiring, I can now share my experience from both camps.  On the one hand, when I worked full time (combined with our special needs son’s relentless care demands) I didn’t have time to cry over spilled milk.  But the drawback was that I didn’t have time to celebrate accomplishments either.  Now that I live in a space of openness, vastness and amidst a more peaceful terrain, I have time to lament things I can’t control, especially the timing of things, but I also have time to smell the roses.

The best attribute of time management, is that regardless if we are busy or dead in the water, time itself carries on.  Our ability to connect with it may change, but time does its own thing.  Seasons arrive and dissolve.  Goals are attained or missed.  But this happens at a pace which we largely do not control, whether we are busy or on hiatus.  The consistency of time having its own say, despite the way we try to manage it is actually a comfort, not a threat.  

If we think about it, the unfoldment of our lives happens independently of most of our intentions and actions.  We may wake up one day and say “Where did all the time go?” Or alternatively “God, I didn’t think that (situation, job, relationship, problem, fear) would EVER end.”  We can have opinions about the pace of evolution, but they carry little to no weight when it comes to “Timing” actually doing its thing.  Sometimes we need to relinquish our perceived control of what happens and when, and just let life and timing take the wheel.  

The Sanskrit phrase “Sat-cit-ananda” beautifully captures this “present but not necessarily controlling” approach to life and is translated in many ways, among them “The Joy of Being.”  It means we are aware of timing, and can impact outcomes in part, but that as we go, we are ‘letting’ more so than ‘getting.’

If it would be helpful to have a visual embodiment of the Peace that comes with exercising the spirit of “Sat-cit-ananda” try this as an experiment: Purchase a flower that has closed buds at the time you find it.  Put it in water, and just watch the joy that unfolds as it petals do.  No rush, no hurrying up or forcing anything.  The flower unfolds in its own timing, as does everything in nature, as do we, when we let ourselves roll with the Joy of Being.

Click to access the login or register cheese