Time; our most valuable possession

The old adage “time waits for no (wo)man” manifests itself every day!  As Christmas / Día de los Reyes Magos is finally over and we head into 2012, I hear shouts of “where did 2011 go?”  Getting older years, months, days and minutes seemingly vanish partly due to the wonderful intervention of the www. Computers, phones, even TV can connect us anywhere and we can be found by anyone (Google Latitude for instance, tracks you with your phone); the roadrunner and his bleep bleep just went into overdrive!

As women we are famed for being great at multi-tasking but have we taken it all too far?  How many articles do you have bookmarked for later, or emails in a to-read folder?  Do you find yourself never quite catching up with your day?

So how do we slow down time?

The perception that time is moving faster is just that – we still have 24 hours in day, 60 minutes in an hour and 60 seconds to a minute.  So why is that when you were younger it seemed that life was moving at a much slower pace. 

Michael Altsuler “The bad news is time flies; the good news is you’re the pilot.”

When did the long hot summer pass us by?

Growing up we faced a lot of new events; seeing the sea for the first time, first day at school, big holiday with our parents, first date etc.  These were all new, completely alien occasions and created novel events.  You couldn’t dip into your memory bank as there was nothing there.  The feeling from the world of Physiology is that we take those initial events and then the experiences create more detailed and lasting memories. When an event is repeated over and over, year on year, it creates a much less significant or lasting impression.

Lao Tzu wrote, “To become learned, each day add something. To become enlightened, each day drop something.” 

Do you remember going somewhere new when the drive there always seemed to take longer than the drive back!  Then there is that first look at an amazing building, or remarkable view.  I always try to take a photo the minute I see that vista as it doesn’t take long to become part of the background and almost normal.

So what’s the key to slowing down the time we live in?

Remember to breathe!  Breathing from your diaphragm stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system because it slows down your breathing (rest your hand on your stomach and feel it move up and down)

Combine breathing with mindfulness.  By calmly resting your attention on whatever is happening in the present moment you will start to feel more calm and relaxed.

Use imagery to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Visualize yourself in a peaceful place, watching the waves on the beach, walking in the cool shade of a forest. Engage all your senses in this imagined place, the sights, sounds, aroma and breathe…..

Adapted from Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson

Korean Zen master Seung Sahn: “When reading, only read. When eating, only eat. When thinking, only think.”

For 2012 one of my goals is to be more mindful and as much as possible take advantage of new and unique experiences.  Even if I have seen something before, have I really seen it and appreciated what it means, says or shows me?  For you it may mean getting out your journal again.  

On Costa Women this year I have created the Gratitude Project, 365 providing a platform for recording and focussing on the positive things that are happening around us so we live more in the present, focus on what we want and hold a positive perception of the future.  You can join in for a week, month, or longer, or just watch the Project to see how it’s developing.

However you plan on slowing down in 2012, use time wisely.

(first published in Family Life in Spain Magazine

If you want a Gratitude Journal, Gratitude Art currently have a sale of their journals http://gratitudeart.com/gratitude-agenda.html

1 thought on “Time; our most valuable possession”

  1. This is very relevant article, Ali.  I,for one, have decided to have more with less, and concentrate on quality rather than quantity.  The obsession to be connected to everything has subsided, and now my deep desire to connect is definitely in proportion to my Higher Power, and all else will fall into place.  That truly is a different angle of using time wisely.  In fact, cool introduction to Time Management 101. 


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