“How did it get so late so soon?” ~Dr. Seuss
Every year for the past five years, I have visited an astrologer on or around my birthday to get some insight into the year ahead.
(Did I already lose some of you by talking about astrology? Possibly. Probably? I dunno. But oh well.
Usually, I walk into my sessions with the magical creature who is Carol Ferris (GO SEE HER RIGHT NOW) with a pretty clear idea about what kind of guidance I’m seeking. But when I saw her earlier this month, it felt like walking in with shrugged shoulders being like, I dunno, Carol. Tell me some things.
Not particularly helpful.
The best thing about Carol is that she always, ALWAYS sees something in my current state of being that I am completely overlooking. And, yes, my chart informs her assessment of the situation, but she’s also freakily intuitive and wise and is just so fucking present when you’re with her it’s amazing.
And so, taking into consideration my chart, the words I was saying, the state of the world at large, and the energy with which I was showing up, she offered me possibly the best advice I’ve gotten in recent years:
Make time for timelessness.
Some of you might be thinking, Duh. Some of you might be all, What the hell does that even mean? Astrology be crazy.
Me? My inner dialogue went a little something like this: But of course! Also: That sounds terrible and hard and probably impossible. And who am I even if I’m not being productive all the time???
And this last question from Inside-My-Brain Me pretty much sums up my life these past 35 years. Because productivity has been priority number one most of the time — which makes sense given my family of origin (much longer story) and just how I was put together as a tiny, tapdpole-like human in my mom’s uncomfortably overgrown belly.
You know. That whole nature + nurture thing.
In any case, the point is: I’m not so good at timelessness. And by that I mean, I compulsively fill space.
Why is unstructured time so hard, you guys? Sheesh.
We live in a culture that has productivity and constant outputting up on an undeserved pedestal, a culture that worships at the altar of busy, a culture that celebrates full calendars and jam-packed social lives, a culture in which most of us have the technological resources at our disposal that allow us to avoid boredom and downtime altogether if we so choose.
And I’ll admit it . . . I so choose more often than I would like.
Remember when you used to stand in line for something and you had to just stand there? Now, I dare you to find somebody, somewhere who’s waiting for something or someone without fiddling around on their phone while they do so.
Remember when you left work and you were no longer working? Gasp! I know. I miss those days, too. And while I love the ability to do administrative work from home and check in with patients when I’m not at the office and access all sorts of business-related things from the comfort of my home, it is also way too easy to check email at odd hours or jump into work first thing in the morning or engage in any number of other work tasks when I’m not actually scheduled to be working.
We can work all the damn time if we want to, you guys. Which: Just. NO.
Oh, and remember nature? She’s still out there, I promise you. And remember when you just enjoyed her without documenting every moment of it with your iPhone to post to your Instagram account immediately? I do. But now it’s almost like we worry that if we didn’t capture it with our camera and share it through the weird entity that is the internet, then it must not have happened at all. Or, at the very least, it doesn’t count and we don’t get our cool, nature-loving points for our efforts.
Let me be clear. I am absolutely not calling anyone out on this stuff because — truth be told — I’ve been extra terrible about engaging in all of these behaviors the past several months. I’ve been extra plugged into technology and the internet and social media. Which also means I’ve been WAY less present in my daily life with the people (and animals) I love the most.
For this reason, I am going to take Carol’s advice and intentionally carve out more time for timelessness over the next thirty days. Which sounds like a pretty contradictory statement even as I’m typing it out, but it still sort of makes sense in my head so I’m just gonna roll with it, alright? Good.
What this means is turning off my phone or putting it in airplane mode during the two hours before bed each night.
It means staring at clouds or rain or the Insane Crow Posse that circles our front yard most days this time of year without feeling compelled to complete some other task in the process.
It means meditating each morning. For 2 minutes, 8 minutes, 17 minutes. It all counts.
It means relearning the fine art of waiting without reaching for a technological distraction to entertain me while I do.
Ultimately, it means letting there be unstructured time and not rushing to fill it with something seemingly productive. Instead, I’m going to give myself permission to just sit there in silence and allow time to pass without worrying about how much of it is going by.
For someone who compulsively sets alarms to track the allocation of my time, this is going to be quite the challenge, folks.
(I’m a Virgo. Don’t judge me.)
If you’re like me and feeling sucked into the vortex of productivity and technology and social media in a way that you’re not so stoked about, I invite you to join me in opening up more space in your life over the next month by making time for timelessness.
Because I really believe it’s in the spaces between the busy-ness and the constant striving that the magic of life truly happens.
And that it’s only when we stop, breathe, and take a break from all the dream-chasing that we’re actually able to see clearly where we’re going and make mindful choices about which direction to move in next.
So, who’s in? A whole lot of nothingness awaits.
It’s going to be strange and uncomfortable and awesome. Guaranteed.