Monday, July 13, 2009

Tempus Fidgets

"Who forces time is pushed back by time; who yields to time finds time on his side."
~The Talmud

This week finds me a brand new father of twins. One of them is still sick and in a hospital an hour away. The other just arrived home today. I contemplated posting a note sunday that time is tight and there would be no Monday update, but as it turns out, if you yield to time a bit everything kind or works itself out.

I have a busy schedule as an author and teacher, but not busy enough to pay all the bills, so I keep a full time day job as well. I have often found myself scorning time, wishing for John Lennon's eighth day a week, and trying to balance my two jobs with my home life. When my wife got pregnant with twins and eventually needed help doing just about everything I knew I was racing full speed ahead into a wall and I would crash soon.

As I often do in times of difficulty, I look to providence for a sign. In this case it was a little Thich Nhat Hanh book that Tiffany had amongst the books that we were donating to the library. I did'nt even know she had it. I nabbed it back from the pile and read it. The very first chapter taught me a lesson about time that shifted my whole thinking.

I used to view time as segmented. I would have part of my day as wife time, part as work time, and what was left was me time. One of Hanh's students came to the realization that it's actually all me time.

When I thought about it, it made perfect sense. There was after all no one and no thing that I couldnt just kiss off and leave if I really wanted to. When people or activities really feel like I waste of my time I have never had any problem ditching them. What is left, really is my own time, even if it doesnt seem that way at first.

This shift in perception cut my frustration drastically and made me value all my time much much more than I did. I am not sure how exactly, but apart from keeping calm, this view has in fact upped my productivity, allowed more frequent pockets for spiritual practice, and made room for even the not so vital tasks, such as the short post you are reading now.

Do I get everything done I want to? No. Not even close. But when you know that all time is your time, you know that none of it is ever really wasted, therefore you feel ok about what is left.

Time to go change a diaper now.


  1. It's like if you divide time into segments, it feels like they are all crowding in on you. The more segments, the more crowding, and when a person is stressed they can divide things down minutely trying to control them. But when you open up to those things it's a lot more like swimming, once those segments go away and you are left with the pure things you have to do, there is space to do them.

    I am really glad you are covering perspective and attitude here. They make so much of a difference.

    Congratulations dude, I know the little ones are beautiful.

  2. Yay, Jason! Congratulations on the twins!!

    I feel the same way about time, and it's just Mike and me! I like the way you put this, though. I do find myself gravitating toward doing the things I REALLY want to do these days, even if it's taking a whole Sunday afternoon to myself to read a book.

    You'll be busier with the kids, but you'll adapt and a schedule will work itself out that will still allow you to pursue your interests.