How to Escape the Burden of Time

Throughout the course of my day, I find myself frequently looking at the clock and thinking about what’s next. With the exception of the morning, when time feels limitless, I’m stuck on the numbers on the clock.

Time begins to feel like a cage.

This is a little contradictory to my post last week, where I mentioned that I like structure and routines, but I think that, like all things in life, there is a balance.

While I find freedom in routine, I also have a tendency to create harsh, arbitrary rules for myself within that routine.

I’m able to find some balance, and escape from this self-made prison, when I allow myself to live in the moment.

One way I can cue into mindfulness is by asking myself sensory questions about my surroundings:

mindfulness-questions-live-in-the-moment-sensory-cues

This particular set of questions is best for when I’m taking a break from my routine so that I might recharge and find focus again.

It takes a little bit of effort to stall the racing thoughts in my mind, and redirect my attention to the world in front of me because my thoughts have become so routine and habitual that they feel familiar, even when they aren’t comforting. The effort to focus my thoughts is well worth it, though.

When I can bring myself to the present moment, time becomes less relevant.

find-your-eternity-thoreau-quote

In the practice of mindfulness, my heart rate slows, I appreciate each sensation for what it brings me, and I gain energy.

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I find the eternity in the moment when I’m reading a good book, finding my flow in a creative project, cuddling my husband, snuggling the dog, watching the clouds, graciously sipping coffee, marveling at nature, or spending time with the people I love. Where do you find your eternity?

7 thoughts on “How to Escape the Burden of Time

  1. What do you seem to be using time for as a measurement?

    Is the measurement in relation to something you truly desire or in relation what others are doing and how it affects you?

    I tend to use time as a self-judgment mechanism. It doesn’t serve me and it is a habit I’m working on changing.

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  2. This is a good question, Juan. Time is literally a measurement, yet I never thought about it in those terms. Often, I measure myself against what others are doing and other people’s timelines. I would like to work on that because it only causes me pain. It’s good that you are aware that you use time to judge yourself – I wonder how you are working on changing that habit. It is a very frustrating thing to judge yourself against time.

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  3. I can relate to the comparison to others. I have done it and do it every now and then these days.

    I can probably help you with what I have done. I’ll send you a voice note later in the week via text.

    As for changing the judgment based on time. It goes back to feedback.

    Discovering what’s causing me to be delayed on things. Readjusting expectations of myself. Reflecting on what I have accomplished so far even if I’m not going as fast as I think.

    The time is always where it needs to be. The key is figuring out what’s the lesson to be learned.

    There are plenty of 60 year Olds that haven’t figured out their life. Most rich people don’t do it until they are in their late forties.

    Each person has a talent and a timeline. This is why we can’t compare ourselves to others.

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  4. Yeah, I think the reflection part is huge because often when I reflect on how far I’ve come, I find that I have changed and grown a lot more than I was giving myself credit for.

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  5. Yes.

    One of my blind spots is that I tend to focus on the bigger picture so much that I don’t spend enough time acknowledging the progress.

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  6. Thoreau is such an anomaly in western thinkers for his time, that I can’t help but appreciate him. It is interesting to me how different our moments of recharging through mindfulness are. For me, my questions would be more like “what do I see/hear? Can I experience it without filters and without story telling? Can I taste the raw edge of existence without fleeing into my thoughts?” Typically the answer is no. =b But I do also experience that stretching of time, both in the moment and as a broader experience. I’ve had it lately, as each week feels like a longer time than before, and each day seems longer as well. I’ve probably mentioned that I used to take afternoon naps specifically because of this. My days would feel like they were two days long, so I’d take naps to help with it. Though then I’d sometimes get confused on how many days it had been, so many that solution wasn’t the best. =b

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