Is Time on Your Side?

Sunday morning.  Hot coffee with cream.  A newly cleaned house.  A misty fog outside.  Milt and I talking.  This is the beginning of a very good day.

Our coffee talk this morning followed some old familiar loops—loops of overwhelm and endless ideas until we finally got tired of the loops and began to go to the next level.  We were watching a TED talk about time.  How do you handle time?  What time spent in the past—caught in old feelings and memories or in pleasant recall?  What time spent in the present—satisfying immediate urges—or doing things that help you gain ground in some area or another.  What time spent in the future—a vision with clarity and shape or so focused on goals and achievement thus robbing yourself of hobbies, fun, play, sleep?

The guy giving the TED talk was Philip Zimbardo.  He spoke far too quickly for me to synthesize what he was saying—but it matched much of what I know from my NLP studies.  It took Milt and I to the next place.  For instance, we realized that we are both very good at meeting deadlines, being on time for meetings, doing for others what we can’t seem to do for ourselves all the time.  We make empty promises to do things, find more balance, play more, but since there is no “boss” or “other” out there to push us to do what we say we are going to do, we fall off somewhere.  We decided to make a new stab at being accountable to each other and to our own goals and ideas in the same way we would do for others.  We got excited about the possibilities.  There are so many fun things to develop and build and do, and we want to see more progress in these areas.

It is easy to see how we have become oriented toward time in this way.  We are well trained in our educational systems to salivate to lunch bells, create adrenaline with the pressure of deadlines, generate fear at the consequences of not turning in the final product.  We are certainly not taught to reflect, contemplate, move at an inner pace, answer the call of our own spirits.

How we treat time says a lot about us.  Last week I had an evening workshop scheduled to assist others in clarifying and defining their vision and their commitment to that vision.  About half the people committed to attend did not find the “time” to come.  Like me, they set aside what they say they want for other people or other reasons.  Why do we do that?

In nearly every workshop people tell me that they would do X, Y, Z if they only had the time.  It is what their heart and spirit want—but they can’t squeeze heart and spirit into the busy schedule.  There is something wrong with this picture.  In my workshops, I tell others that using the lack of time or money to not take positive, self-affirming action is just a “convenient excuse.”

I’m guilty as well.  After a busy few weeks, I finally took three days to do what my body and spirit wanted.  It was not anything terribly exciting.  I split and piled next winter’s wood.  I put my some of my needy tomato plants in the ground and put a hoop over them.  I cleaned and rearranged my house.  I picked up garbage in my yard.  And with every step and every bend and every bag filled, I felt better and more grounded than I had in several weeks.  It was wonderful.  In fact, even as I am sitting here writing, I’m realizing that I need at least two more days of this.  See you later.

No, really.  We cannot wait until we think we deserve the time or the money to build what we want to create.  We have to carve it out of a well-programmed (like maze rats) mentality and make it happen.  One of my favorite teachers, Robert Fritz, says that we all have deep, hidden opinions that we are not smart enough, or good enough, or pretty enough, or motivated enough (take your pick)  to create the life we want.  Instead of simply acknowledging that we have this hidden opinion (or shaking hands with it as Robert would say) we let it rule the day.  Or we waste precious time trying to disprove the hidden opinion.  For example, if I secretly fear I am not smart enough, I will spend precious years gaining one degree or certification after another to “prove” how smart I am.

I think that learning to manage and decide how to use  time, past—present—and future, is critical to our progress as human beings.  I plan to work on finding the balance between ongoing projects, stuff I just want to create because I want to, and the rest and fill it up time that I need to recharge my battery.

What time is it for you? 

A song is playing in my head . . . time, time, time . . . is on your side . . . yes it is.

If you would like to see the video of Zimbardo’s TED talk, click on  Also, be sure to subscribe below if you want to get my weekly post, share No Ordinary Life with others, look at my books page, and keep commenting—it makes my day.


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Is Time on Your Side? — 1 Comment

  1. Jamie: It is so true that time is precious and we need to enjoy each and every day that has been given to us as a gift. My life changed when my husband and I had a car accident and should not be here today. No one knows how we survived but we did and now every day is a GIFT! So… you can imagine how I value time! Family, friends, and faith are the most important things in my life. I am so looking forward to going to Chrysalis again this summer and I am bringing a friend from Maine. I know we will share some very special times together.

    May you and Milt take the opportunity to find those special times to enjoy each other!

    Jan Fedora

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