As I continue to work with the Seasons of Change and to think about the Soulful Side Gig, I see more and more the unhealthy relationships we have with time in our society. We've lost touch with the longer, more leisurely rhythms of nature and have become obsessed with the man-made increments of time that we've imposed in order to give ourselves the illusion of control.
I can't help feeling that part of our persistent anxiety as a culture comes from pushing and measuring ourselves in terms of these artificial notions of time. We seem particularly obsessed with the shortest increments--hours and minutes and making everything happen faster and faster.
I get this. I'm as impatient as the next person, trained by technology to expect things to happen in an instant. I still complain when my cell phone takes too long to connect to the network and I want my Starbucks delivered ASAP.
But there is much of life that will not be contained by our attempts to control it.
Pregnant women know this--babies come in their own time.
Grieving people know this, too. Recovering from loss adheres to no man-made timetable.
There are some things that move at a more gentle pace, measured not in hours or days, but in seasons.
Accepting this can be difficult, but it's necessary. Once we do, we can stop judging ourselves for not moving faster. We can lean in to the lessons of each season and gives ourselves the space and time to work through what needs to be happening.
When we relax into more natural rhythms, we also become more aligned with ourselves. We can see the bigger picture of our progress and the cyclical nature of life.
The trick, I think, is to understand when we need to unhook ourselves from our mechanistic notions of time. What aspects of our lives demand that we observe nature's rhythms?
Big changes in identity, rites of passage, understanding our purpose--all of these do not happen according to the clock or calendar. As much as we'd like to rush them through, they stubbornly refuse to accept the order we try to impose on them.
As you look at your life and at your work, try to separate those things that can occur on a manmade timetable and those that cannot. Where you need to, move at the pace of nature.