The Breast Blog: How To Become a Breast Health Ambassador - Chapter Two / Time Management

Time is an interesting subject. People will often complain that they don't have enough of it. I've heard people say they are 'trying to buy more time' and that 'time is running out'. Poor old time always appears like the enemy. Yet, every minute, hour, day is the same length in every country around the world. There is no New York Minute. There's just the plain old 60 second version.

I've come to believe that it's not time that's the issue. It's our way of relating to time that causes our problems. Modify our response and suddenly, our frustration with time disappears.

I was given my first wrist watch when I was 10. My older brother Bob, had the job of filling my Christmas stocking each year and time and again, he would cram it full of onions, potatoes and carrots. I was not amused. So on the morning of this particular Xmas, rather than incurring the heartbreak of root vegetables instead of presents, I simply picked up my stocking and put it in the refrigerator crisper drawer.

A few days later, when the stocking was discovered, the Timex watch that was tucked into the toe of my stocking, under the veggies was still ticking, just like the advertisements claimed. And I started a new relationship with time.

Right from the beginning, time and I struggled. I was either running late for my appointments or on the rare occasion when I was about to arrive early, I'd add one more 'quick' stop into my route. Which would never be quick enough. So I'd be late again. This with my wrist and every other wrist I knew, strapped with watches and clocks blinking at me from every room and roadway in my life.

I had a full list of excused. All of them lies. The truth was much more simple. I let clock time control me. I was always running to catch up, to make time as they say. Thinking in some deluded, self important way that I would eventually whip time into shape. At times, I've noted that my own arrogance knows no bounds.

In 1988, after graduation and a couple year stint as advertising manager at the University of Guelph's student newspaper, The Ontarion, my boyfriend and I headed out on an eight month trip to the South Pacific with our tent and backpack. I was leaving academia and student life behind and making another attempt at doing a 'spring clean' of my life. My relationship with time was just as rocky as ever and my excuses had long since run dry. So just before I left town for my adventure, I broke up with time. I took off my watch and left it behind.

It took time to get over time. Time and again, I would stop strangers and ask them what time it was or seek out the clock tower in foreign city squares. I needed reassurance that time was still ticking along without my constant vigil. I didn't want to loose time. And I wasn't sure how much time I had.

Eventually, I calmed down. And low and behold, I notice a personal miracle taking shape. I stopped being late for appointments. With out the constant artificial reminder of time, my own natural instinct for time was allowed to surface. I became my own keeper of time. I could sense time. Even tell time by looking at the sky and checking how my body felt, my own biological clock as it where. I felt immense liberation and satisfaction. And I knew my own health would benefit from this newly forged relationship.

Today, I will heartily claim that time and I are best friends. In fact, I love time. Especially when my life has taken a dip into the dark depths of despair. I know that time is ticking on even though I feel completely trapped and stuck in my situation. And since time is one of the greatest healers, I take great comfort in knowing that as time passes, so will my pain. I can relax into the present moment, no matter what it feels like.

This too shall pass. Be here now.

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