TIME. It’s a man-made concept. It’s quite interesting if you really think about it… time doesn’t exist. Time is merely a concept that we have constructed in our brains.
However, the concept of time… such as “THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME”… or “my boys are growing up WAY WAY WAY too fast”, “I don’t have time for that”, “what if I don’t complete this on time” and so on, is the very source of my deepest pain and frustration on a daily basis.
I feel overly, rather obsessively, conscious of how fast my 2 boys are growing up, how time is racing, how the lines in my face remind me I AM getting older, and how I dreadfully FEAR with all of my heart regretting anything I’m doing NOW that I could regret later out of feeling like it took time away from my husband or kids. On a logical level I know it’s a limiting thought habit and to a large degree, bullshit. However, on an emotional level, I can’t seem to shake it. I think about it. I worry about it. Sometimes I obsess over it. Like I’m doing right now while writing this Blog article. I have felt the little stabs in my heart when one of my boys says “Mommy, you’re not even listening to me”… because I’m too busy checking my email and letting my inbox dictate how I’m showing up for my children and my husband. LAME.
YET I have discovered the best anecdote to “not enough time”. The best solution to combat this gnawing feeling is PRESENCE. PRESENCE is the way out of life’s ultimate time crunch. Not an inconsistent, half-assed effort in being present… but a true, intentional, laser-focused commitment to being there for your self, your love partner, your kids, and those you love through giving yourself and others your full presence.
For example… how often are you functioning in “auto-pilot” mode? Do you know how to get out of it and fully shift your focus onto those you love? Do you ever have a tough time fully transitioning from work to home life? Whether it’s to mommy/daddy mode or spouse/lover mode? Do your kids ever call you out for being on your phone while they’re tying to tell you something? Do you feel you’re able to fully experience and absorb the moments that are happening… as they are happening? We all want that… but do we really know how to do this well in this chaotic day in age? We can certainly learn.
So think about it… by being more PRESENT… we EXPAND time. We essentially get more time! By being fully present, or fully in the moment, fully engaged with the other person or people, we make these moments richer, deeper, more meaningful. We get more out of each of life’s special moments and experiences. Being present helps us strengthen our feelings and emotions for those we love by helping us anchor down the good and positive moments… because now we are paying more attention to them.
Being present can help us change our cognitive concept of time. We can transform how much “time” we truly have by using the time that we do have in a much different way. Here are some actions steps you can take to get you on the path to better connection and more time with those you love:
1. PRACTICE MEDITATION
Practice pausing and being present for your SELF first. It’s the only way you’re going to get good at giving your full and engaged presence to others. I love the free Headspace app for 10 minute meditation sessions. The free portion of this app is an excellent place to begin with several 10 minute meditation sessions. And his Australian accent I do find rather pleasing ;).
2. GIVE YOUR FAMILY PERMISSION TO KEEP YOU ACCOUNTABLE.
Tell your love partner and your kids you want to get better at being fully present for them. Let them see you be vulnerable… and watch the gifts that follow. Empower them by asking them to help you. Kids love this!
Getting your family in on your practice of presence is a wonderful way to teach your children (and your partner) how to hone this skill themselves, as well as help keep you accountable by giving your family permission to help keep you present, in a loving a respectful way of course. Let then hide your phone for a set amount of time. Let them see you put your distractions away for them.
3. ESTABLISH A SCHEDULE OF PRESENCE.
Know when you will end work and shift to mommy / daddy / wife / husband / lover mode. Be intentional about your START and STOP times when it comes to your non-family commitments and your family commitments. Set timers with your partner for regular connection time.
4. HANG A SIGN.
As silly as it sounds, hang a sticky note. Give yourself a visual reminder, a cue, to keep you on track. Put it on your bathroom mirror, or on the dashboard of your car.
Cheers to your extraordinary relationships!
Certified Relationship Coach & Divorce Preventionist