Post On: August 1, 2019
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Hi Friends! I'm so excited to dive into this month's topic. But before we begin, I want you to consider that you are only ever 5 steps away from a sustainable solution for any life situation, when you approach it using the principles of a gap year mindset. And I hope that you will visit us at thegapyeargirls.com to learn more and find out.And with that wonderful sponsor info out of the way, I'm your host celeste, and you are listening to Episode #1, Your Relationship to Time.So we've been exploring our perspectives on time this month with the members of our Gap Year Girls community and as I've been reflecting on the limiting stories that so many of us can tell ourselves about time and how that can negatively affect our lives, I wanted to share some of the positive alternatives that are possible to choose, and how that can create a more fulfilling and expansive version of our life.
Productive vs Present
I grew up in a family of doers, who valued being active, accomplishing material success, and using our time productively and efficiently. Upon returning home or checking back in with one another in the evenings to measure how valuable our experiences were, I was consistently asked the question "so, did you have a productive day?"
This is a very MENTAL and logical view on the most valuable way to use and invest our time. From this perspective, the relationship we have with time is about spending it effectively now for some sort of long term, or end result that may not be tangible in this present moment.
1. We work hard with the time we have NOW so that we can rest and feel supported and happy LATER
2. We exercise hard with the time we have NOW so that we can be healthy for longer LATER
3. We are efficient with our time NOW so that we don't run out of it when we need it LATER
See what I mean? And I don't think this is a bad thing at all. Because I hope you all do intend on living well into what we perceive as 'the future.' This kind of long term strategic thinking about time guides us to use our time wisely in order to set up the foundation, systems, and support for a more expansive, happy, abundant future. I think that's awesome.BUT, not without balance. Because the trap that I see so many people fall into is that our time is only ever being used in this way to prepare us for an unknown future... and we forget that we only ever experience our life in the present moment. Catch 22 - hey?
Because if we aren't aware of how we are experiencing the time we are spending in the present to be productive, we will let our entire life pass us by waiting until the future arrives so we can begin to enjoy the fruit of our labor. And the paradox I want you to consider is that the future IS also now, relative to our past.
1. I think it is so important that we also play with the time we have NOW so that we can enjoy the hard work that we've done in the past to bring us here.
2. We rest with the time we have NOW so that we can recover and integrate all the strength we've been building in the past as we overcome challenges to get here.
3. We are spontaneous and leisurely with our time NOW, so that we can open ourselves up to the creative possibilities for experiences that we have never considered having before.
Being productive is a super valuable priority to have when it comes to the relationship we have with time. It means we are valuing the potential and possibilities for how our time can be spent when we aren't wasting it or allowing ourselves to get distracted or doing meaningless things with our time that genuinely don't serve us or our long term goals. BUT, I always found myself feeling like only valuing productivity was like being a mouse in one of those spinning wheels… running and running, working hard and chasing… for what? With a priority to be productive, I propose we also need to value being present in this time, so that we also allow ourselves to 'arrive' in that future we keep preparing ourselves for, and enjoy the fruits of our labor that can only be received in the present moment.----
Business is a choice
Another way we allow a disempowering relationship to time to create struggle and conflict in our life is this 'business' trap that so many of us high achieving women can fall into. When you want to do it, and can't (business as an excuse to ourselves to not reevaluate our life choices)
The first is using this idea of 'business' as an excuse to avoid looking within ourselves and reevaluating our priorities and current life choices. Telling ourselves that we are just 'too busy' and never have enough time to do the things we really want.
For most of us, until we begin doing our inner work around time, It's hardly ever that we get invited to go do something fun and we say, "Honestly, I'm just so busy doing all these other things I really love and want to do instead, sorry!"
I think it's interesting that it's become acceptable to allow the idea that we don't have enough time to stress us out so much when we are the ones choosing what we do with our time in every moment of the day.And you might say, but wait! Celeste. No… I have a job, and my shift starts at 9am every morning. I am so busy because I HAVE to go to work, and I also HAVE a bunch of other things I need to take care of for my friends and my health and my family. If you looked at my life, you would see that I'm genuinely SO busy.What we so easily forget in these situations is that WE ARE CREATING THIS ENTIRE TIME EXPERIENCE FOR OURSELVES. Everything we DO with our time is our choice. Consciously or unconsciously, we are the ones making every decision on how we spend our time based upon avoiding what we don't want, and creating what we do. It's really that simple.Because did someone force you to get that job? Do you HAVE to run errands for your friends? Is someone making you go to the gym? No! You want to do all of those things because they have genuine benefits that serve you in the long term. You want to build a savings account so you can afford to ski with your friends this winter, you want to do nice things for others because you value their friendship and genuinely love them, and you want to exercise because of how good it feels to live your daily life in a physical body that is strong and full of energy. All of the ways you choose to spend your time to create those results, no matter how full your life gets in the process, are choices.There is nothing wrong with taking on a lot of responsibility, setting big goals, desiring more for your life and being focused, efficient, and hardworking with your time to make it happen. But we can get caught up with our stories about how busy we are that we go on on autopilot in relationship to the tasks that we are piling up on our to-do lists.Remember, you ARE doing what you want, no matter how busy you get, because you are choosing how you spend your time based on whatever is currently the highest priority for you. So if you are someone who tells yourself that you are " too busy" or " never have enough time," to say yes to those invitations or ideas that excite you more than the current realities of your daily life, then this is your invitation to reevaluate how you are spending your time, and empower yourself to make new choices if what you are doing every day isn't an authentic reflection of what you deeply desire to experience.-----
Now, the second way that I see people using 'business' and having no time as an excuse is towards others when we are insecure about speaking our truth to them.On the contrary, if we get invited to do something that we genuinely don't want to say yes to, for whatever reason, we can get so in our head about imagining how personally someoneelse is going to take our desire to say 'no', that our response out of social niceties is usually something along the lines of… "No, sorry, sounds awesome, but I can't. I have so many other things I have to do, I'm really busy right now, and I just don't have enough time. Thanks anyway! Again, so sorry, I would if I could, but I can't."Time seems to be the ultimate cop-out for us to not genuinely speak what we desire for our lives to each other. But time is a neutral party! Time is just hanging out, being a relative construct, and so many of us are projecting our own vague stories of how IT is responsible for the kinds of choices we can or cannot make in our lives, and honestly, I call B.S.Remember, if something is a priority, we can always make the time. So in these situations, a truthful response might sound like, "Hey, that's not really an experience that sounds particularly exciting or important for me to get involved with right now relative to the other experiences I want to choose instead, so I'm going to pass. Thank you for the option!"Because if we want to set ourselves free from this business trap, we need to get clear on our priorities, own our desires, and recognize that we are choosing what we spend your time on in any moment, and not make ourselves wrong for whatever way we want to spend it.
Quantity vs. Quality:
I think what is really important to consider with your relationship to time, is that you are fully in control of not only what you spend your time on, but the quality of that time as well.Our minds are all about organizing, strategizing, and systemizing our decisions to spend time in a logical way that will lead us to the end result of the success we most desire. Our hearts, on the other hand, are all about settling into the direction we've set for ourselves and helping us be present with the infinite opportunity we have to make the time we spend doing all of those things, a far more enjoyable experience.The quality of our time, the way the time we spend on any given thing FEELS, is, of course, the result of how we choose to think about it. Do we look at our list of chores that we know, logically, will help us create the ultimate desired result of a clean and tidy home, and tell ourselves "GEEZZZ. I hate doing yard work. I wish I were richer, then I wouldn't be so irritated because I could hire other people to do all of this for me and once I had more free time, I could be happy since I'd only be doing the things I want to do"I know this sounds so grumpy scrooge, but HOW MANY OF YOU EITHER THINK THIS WAY OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO THINKS THIS WAY?
I'm not going to call my dad out for this one, but I'm calling my dad out on this one. He knows it, and that's okay.Because this is the thing, I think we forget… this illusion of having MORE time isn't the answer! It's not just about the quantity of the time we have. It is about the quality of the time we have… and quality time isn't determined by circumstances… it is the result of your thoughts.If you know that living in a clean home is deeply important and nourishing for your being, then when you commit to crossing off a big list of chores, it is your responsibility to keep that WHY at the top of your mind so that the time you spend completing your chosen mission, is way more enjoyable. You have weeds to pull? Listen to a podcast while you do it! You have laundry to do? When the last time you had a fashion show with your own closet? We can bring joy to even the dullest of tasks and moments when we remember that we are there by choice and that our attitude alone can determine the quality of our time that we spend doing pretty much anything.Because when I love my life, when I set my intention first thing in the morning to be the best version of myself and enjoy the 24 hours I have in my day, I'm not paying attention to time. Time is a tool for me to use to hold myself accountable to honoring the commitments I make to myself and others to create experiences that I desire to have.Other than being able to show up in the same moment to meet those commitments I've made to move forward with something that I'm working on, or that I care about, then I don't pay much attention to time anymore because time is simply a measurement. It's not an experience. And we can use time as this excuse to wait and wait and wait and wait until we are ready, or circumstances are most favorable, for us to go out and start living the life we most want to live… but what I know for sure is there will never be a "right time" -- There is just right now.We get to decide in every moment, what we want to be doing, what is important to us, and how we want to invest our time. Because wherever we spend this time, whatever we do within any measured set of moments within time, is showing ourselves what is most important to us.If we spend all of our time on Instagram, or all of our time complaining… that's our choice. We could equally spend all of our time reading a book, being grateful for what we have, creating art, or applying for exciting jobs… it's all a matter of priorities.
I've really come to understand this within myself, and it's helped to liberate me from ever feeling like there is some sort of external ticking universe clock that has any type of power over me. Without awareness and reflecting on our relationships to time, it can seem like time has power over us simply because it is limited... but I really just see it as a system of measurement to keep us accountable for making progress towards the things we deeply care about ourselves. This only becomes possible when we are aware of our habits, clear on our priorities, and committed to using whatever time we have, on purpose to experience the life we most want to live.
I hope this was valuable to you. If you would like to learn how you can take the next step towards applying these ideas towards creating positive change in your life, we cover this and so much more in The Intentional Gap Year Workshop. It is a fantastic way for you to get to know yourself, and learn how to use the power you have to create a life that is the most authentic reflection of what you deeply want to experience.I look forward to reading your comments below, thanks for listening! Bye-bye.