“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.” – Maya Angelou
Today’s meditation shows us that we all live our lives according to our own tempo, rhythm, and flow of time. Our bodies and minds thrive when we follow the daily rhythms of sleep and activity that work best for us. Difficulties arise when we try to impose our style of personal time on others. Our meditation practice helps us listen and tune in to our own unique approach to personal time, and that teaches us to respect everyone else’s approach as well.
I’m doing it for us…
Welcome to Day 12 where we’ll gain fresh perspective on the importance of integrating my time, your time, and our time, within the construct of your own relationships. Whenever I sense dissidence between coworkers, audience members, viewers, family or friends, I like to use the phrase, “Meet them where they are.” That means in order to better align what matters most to you with what matters most to the people in your life, you need to have knowledge of their core belief systems, their needs, their priorities and their lifestyle. Not everyone sees life the way you do.
Fixating on your own ideal personality traits is not only destructive to you, it excludes your partner from revealing his or her true self, and that is a recipe for dysfunction. There are people who find time management restrictive. They like to leave things loose
and spontaneous. A more structured person might interpret this as flighty or flaky or even rude.
Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of The Four Agreements, once told me, “At the root of any personal drama lies assumptions.” Without allowing yourself to be taken advantage of work to find common ground, assume nothing, examine why schedules put your partner or coworker on edge and further excavate why you take planning and punctuality so personally. When you meet people where they are you love them at a level where they can receive it. In return they love you with their fullest heart.
This time scheduling reminds me so much of a trip I made to Australia with my family. When I think about how this all happened I am reminded that I had stopped going to AA meetings, stopped giving what was so freely given me when I needed it most, stopped letting my Higher Power run the show, etc.; in other words, I was back in my diseased stinking-thinking but just hadn’t drank…yet.
Anyway, we all agreed on what we wanted to get accomplished during our visit Down Under. We had x amount of days, x amount of time, and x amount of miles (or kilometers) to cover. I did the spreadsheet thing and put together an itinerary. It was horrendous. Everybody hated me and we were so stressed out sticking to the game plan that no one was having a good time.
So the next year when my husband and I made the trip back Down Under to once again visit his family and friends, I let my husband know he got to come up with the game plan. He didn’t. Everyday was spontaneous. It was awesome. We did everything and visited with everyone we wanted to. No stress. No time line. With plenty of time to enjoy the moment.
Moral of the story, at least for me, is not to get complacent with my recovery. Everyday I must remember that I am an alcoholic with an alcoholic way of thinking. I must remember that my Higher Power has everything in control and is doing the driving; I am just along for the ride of my life! So today, staying close to the fellowship of A.A., I go with the flow, live in the moment, and am spontaneous. I am happy, joyous and free once again. I have contentment and peace beyond my wildest dreams!
Let’s listen to Deepak and then we’ll meditate together.
In family and relationships there’s no single time management that fits every person’s needs. All of us are biologically programmed to have our own daily rhythms of sleep and activity, hormones and brain responses. From childhood, minds and bodies naturally find their own time frame. Sleep research shows some people are early risers while others are late risers. This pattern holds for life if the person is allowed to observe their own circadian rhythm.
Problems arise when we expect others to adhere to our own personal time frame. To someone used to rushing a relaxed approach to time is wasteful, lazy, impolite and the other person’s fault. To someone used to letting things happen in their own fashion a precisely organized sense of time feels pressured, controlling, overly anxious and, perhaps, a sign of insecurity in the other person.
This is the clash between my time and your time, which we’ve all experienced. From the ego’s viewpoint, my time is better than changing to accommodate your time can be irritating and frustrating. In reality any style or personal time is just that; it’s personal. There is no workable way to handle time until two people decide to mesh. They begin to respect and accommodate the other person’s different style.
This creates an opening for something new…our time. Our time is mutually agreed upon. One partner can rush around all day while the other doesn’t. But when they come together such differences are forgotten. Our time is open, honest and considerate. People are quick to say, “I don’t have time for this,” or “Why are we arguing about the same thing over and over?” But the real meaning behind these words isn’t about time but space. “I don’t have space for you means that the other person isn’t given openness and emotional access.
When you create our time you also give the other person space. Our time means going beyond ego limitations whether relationship itself is given to grow. That won’t happen just by making time to be in the same room together. Your intention must shift from me to us. There should be a place for close physical contact and emotional bonding. Our time can’t be taken for granted. A living relationship has needs that arise every day. When two people agree on a simple fact it becomes natural to respond to those needs the way you tend to your own.
Deepak’s words of wisdom remind me so much of the relationship my husband and I have. We are both busy doing our own things. We are blessed to wake up and go to bed together, eat our meals together, and share daily tidbits of life together.
We used to spend one day a week traveling and exploring around the Big Island of Hawaii where we live. But we stopped. We got busy. When I suggest we take a day trip he tells me he is busy with this project or that. When he suggests I do something with or for him, I deliver the “I am busy with the business and I’m doing it for us” bullshit. Today I know better. I stop and realize how blessed I am to have him here in my life.
Earlier this year my husband was care-flighted to Oahu for triple-bypass surgery. This was very sudden following a cardiologist consultation. All we had were the clothes on our backs. I am ever so grateful to have been rigorously committed to my recovery at this time or I would have drank.
As he was under the knife the hours seemed like an eternity. I found a Pandanus tree on the hospital grounds which kept me busy weaving lauhala bracelets. It also kept me connected not only to my Higher Power but to the spirit of Hawaii. When the stinky thoughts of gloom and doom and hearing the doctor tell me he didn’t make it and flying home alone snuck into my head, I embraced those thoughts and then let them go in the clouds that so beautifully surround our islands.
I’m happy to say my husband pulled through his surgery and has a clean slate of health. I’m also happy to say that his snoring no longer annoys me nor keeps me awake. I think of it as the ocean, sometimes calm, sometimes tsunami strength. But if I think of my life in quiet without my husband… I won’t go there. And when I get cranky because of the whiskers in the sink after he shaves, or the food on the kitchen floor when he cooks, I’ll miss all that when he’s gone.
Valuable, valuable lessons my Higher Power has given me to help me to a higher level of greatness and compassion. Today I get to love my life, love myself, and everything in between. This I owe to a Power Greater Than Myself and to the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.
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As we prepare to meditate together let’s take a moment to consider our centering thought, “I cherish our time together. I cherish our time together.” Now let’s prepare for our meditation. Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes. Begin to be aware of your breath and just breathe, slowly and deeply. With each breath allow yourself to become more deeply relaxed.
Now gently introduce the mantra, “Ananta Swa Bhava. Ananta Swa Bhava.” This mantra means “My true nature is endless in time and space.” This mantra helps you recognize yourself as infinite unbounded awareness. Repeat it silently to yourself, “Ananta Swa Bhava. Ananta Swa Bhava. Ananta Swa Bhava.” With each repetition feel your body, mind and spirit open into an expanded state of awareness. Whenever you find yourself distracted by thoughts, noises, or physical sensations, simply return your attention to silently repeating the mantra, “Ananta Swa Bhava. Ananta Swa Bhava. Ananta Swa Bhava.”
I cherish our time together.
Ananta Swa Bhava
My true self has no limits or boundaries.
From Deepak and Oprah’s 21-Day Meditation Series, “Making Every Moment Matter”, a Chopra Center Meditation.