This August I’ll be speaking at the national Take Back Your Time conference. The conference will address how our choices in how we spend our time effects
our wellbeing, our families and even the health of our environment.
One of the many points of change and growth for me this past year and a half has been how I treat my relationship with time.
I’ve had a lifelong struggle to be a human being instead of a human doing. I have based so much of my identity, my goals and my time prioritization on being productive and delivering in my professional endeavors. Certainly this has been a result of personality, ego and conditioning. However, I think it’s also because, as a lifelong and very passionate environmentalist, I feel such urgency to make a difference, to reverse the tremendous damage we are inflicting on this miraculous blue planet. I never felt like any of my efforts were enough or fast enough to match the urgency so I’d push even harder.
But when my life blew up under the media-driven public shaming my work came to a screeching halt. At first, I railed and thrashed and tried to force my work forward despite the trauma and turmoil but it didn’t work. I finally had to give in and realize that it was going to be some time before my life and my work would resume some sense of normalcy. For the first time, reluctantly and resentfully, I really slowed down. And Holy Smokes, I liked it! I was shocked to realize how hard I had been working and pushing for so long.
During these past eighteen months I have spent hours meditating … unhurriedly. I’ve studied spirituality and consciousness, and made space for lengthy conversations about those topics instead of the “work” that I had been so focused on. I’ve read novels and watched movies. I’ve volunteered building fences for dogs living on chains and rehabbing injured wildlife. I’ve taken time to really be present with, talk and interact with strangers.
Now, my work is moving again and I am super grateful for that! And life is more normal despite the occasional, ongoing media hits. I’m rolling along again.
And yet, I’m not rolling so fast. I’m not working as long or as “hard” as I did before. I’m not allowing my meditation time to be the first thing to go when I feel the pressure of a deadline. I’m committed to maintaining this new, gentler, more open relationship with time.
I now really get it that I can’t do my best work for this Earth just by doing more work. To be most effective in my work to protect Earth’s environment I have to continue to prioritize my own inner environment. For that, and for these new, saner rhythms I am actually grateful for the recent challenges that presented the greatly unasked for gift of forcing me to slow down.
At the upcoming conference I’ll be delivering a plenary about how my “fall from grace” brought me to this more graceful relationship with time. I’m a little nervous about sharing this story publically, and a little nervous that I’ll get emotional while doing so. But I am also really looking forward to putting it out there and hearing from others who are also working on investing instead of just spending their time.
I’ll also be participating on a panel addressing the need to move to a more sustainable way of measuring economic success including valuing the economic contribution of volunteer time, stay at home mothers and caregivers.
Here is a link to the entire conference agenda.
I would love to know what you think about time. How would you like to change the way you spend your time? How have you changed over and around time?
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