Time, love and tenderness

No, I am not about to launch into singing a rendition of Michael Bolton’s hit song from the 90s. Instead I am interested in reflecting on how we use our most precious resource – our time. Each day we wake up with a fresh new start. We are given 24 hours, a brand new day of life, a day that has never occurred before and will never occur again. It is unrepeatable, irreplaceable, uniquely ours and it is completely up to us what we do with it.

We can often feel like life is dictating for us where our time is spent. But this is a very disempowering way to live because it continually makes us feel that we are the victims of whatever life throws our way. One way to help combat this is to work with your calendar to make sure it is reflective of your priorities. This is a process that I began doing this past year and it has made a huge difference in my satisfaction and peace of mind.

I essentially schedule time in my calendar for things that are important to me. This could be anything from working in my garden to activities like meditation, centering practices, yoga or journaling time. I also schedule out time to spend with my husband and dog doing things that we enjoy as a family. Before I enacted this way of working with my calendar, I just did those things whenever I could fit it into my day. Which often meant it didn’t get done. Life often seemed to get in the way and I found myself waiting for the time when things would settle down and I could get back to having time for these things.

The truth is that while it felt important to me, I was always letting other things take priority. Then one day it hit me, I was spending my time doing things that weren’t priorities to me, but were priorities to other people in my life. I didn’t want to let people down or not meet their approval and expectations of me. But the truth was, I didn’t really want to trade my most valuable resource – my time, for involvement in or engagement in these activities. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the people or see the value in the activity, it was just not something I was willing to trade my time for anymore.

This was a big aha moment for me. Most of us don’t really take the time to ask ourselves what we want. We are so used to being a caregiver and putting our needs last that it can be startling to really ask ourselves what we want and where would like to spend our time. For me it meant learning how to say no with love and being okay with whatever the consequences of honoring my truth meant. People that truly love us and want the best for us will support us in making these changes. They want us to live a life that truly lights our fire and makes us excited to greet each new day. I found that the best way to honor myself and others is to make sure my calendar reflects my priorities. It has helped me to be more present to the people around me and to dissolve the resentment that can follow anytime we feel pressured or cornered into doing things we don’t really want to do.

For me this is a work in progress, but I can definitely say that when I decide to add something to my calendar and make the decision to trade my time for it, I stop and give pause and a moment of reflection to determine if I am truly wanting to do it or if I am trying to please someone else. Most of all, I realized the need to be gentle with myself through enacting this change. It takes a bit of time, love and tenderness to put ourselves back on the list of importance in our own lives.