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Tic – Tock
by Jill Sockman
In a recent conversation with a dear friend, I was told “time is on our side.” As soon as the words hit the air, I recoiled. I’ve never particularly felt like time was on my side. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I often view time as the enemy. A wily, rogue-ish sort. Utterly uncontrollable and demanding beyond reason. Her inconsistent metronome ticks out minutes and days at her whim: sometimes in quick bursts, impossible to grasp, and other times painfully slowly, drop by heavy, ineffable drop.
While it’s likely the “not in my control” part that vexes me the most about time and her ways, I can recognize there is some space between “there’s all the time in the world” and my usual M.O. “there is never going to be enough time, ever.” Leaning into the latter creates anxiety and spin – and any time we turn to scarcity, we are looking in the wrong direction. But standing in the former doesn’t feel right either because there’s decidedly not an unlimited number of hours to experience this life. Mindless action doesn’t allow for the space needed to receive clarity, inspiration, insight or direction, but continuing on as we have been for too long takes us down the road of a groove, a rut, a grave. Maintaining the status quo, especially when we know better, so often pushes us from contentment to resignation to resentment, and that spin cycle can quickly take on a life of its own. If we fully embraced the truth that life is, might or could be short, would we more readily make necessary leaps of faith? Because as it is, we generally don’t change when we are uncomfortable. We actively pursue change only when it has become too painful to remain the same.
So, what if we could move the call-to-action-ometer just a little bit? Make a list. What immediate choices would you make if you believed time was decidedly not on your side? Where would you go? What changes would you implement in the rhythm of your days? What conversations would you have? What fences would you mend, what bridges would you build and what relationships would you walk away from? How would you spend your time, your money, your energy? It’s a worthy line of questioning to pursue.
The number of life hours spent doing things to please others’ sensibilities about what is right and wrong, supporting efforts that no longer have our whole heart, fulfilling the expectations of those around us so that they will feel more comfortable is inversely proportional to the possibility for more fulfillment, contentment and joy if those resources were redirected to be in alignment with our soul’s purpose. And the teachings are crystal clear on this one: the soul isn’t confused about why it’s here. The soul is not interested in what your friends, family, neighbors or coworkers think. The soul knows the Truth: move, choose, speak, live from the center, and you are serving the highest good. Always. Not sometimes, some people, some circumstances. Everyone, everywhere, all the time.
During my time off, I’m taking a look at where I’m stuck in habituation, where I’m making unhealthy compromises and where I’ve simply just dug my head in the sand. My quest has become rerouting the energy of those pathways to better align with what I really want the most- not in the egoic sense, but in the truth of me: the well of deep knowing that is the soul. What choices, activities, people, thoughts, plans and goals are the most life and spirit affirming? Where could my time and energy be better spent, shared or given? I can practically hear the voice of my teacher punctuate these questions. It’s not enough to know what to do, we must access the courage to do what we know. Yes, I hear that, too.
And as I continue to ponder, I am reminded of the brilliant Annie Dillard. “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” Yes. Tic toc. Tic toc. The choices today matter. Every one. Because we are moment by moment, shaping our lives.