Friday, April 23, 2010

on making time

"Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein."~ H. Jackson Brown, and one of my favorite quotes.
It goes without saying that I like having goals. I like checking things off a list, I like planning ahead, I like knowing what we're having for dinner on any given night so the night before, I can make the cornbread or defrost the beans in advance. In the end, this makes my life simpler, leaves time for other, less practical, more creative and enriching things. That's the idea, anyway. Except lately it's not really working.

Lately, I have no time at all. I have two big things that I want to accomplish during the week: exercising/training, and writing. The problem is that I like to do everything first thing in the morning. I have tried to change my habits, alter my nature, but so far it hasn't worked. I am my best in the morning, and thus have been forced to decide which pursuits get my best.

The last few weeks, this has been training. I love waking up at 5:30 and going for a run. The pool where I swim is only open at 6:30 two days a week. But I also love evening yoga classes and going for a 20 mile bike ride after work. And on the weekends there all the things I didn't have time for during the week - grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning, planting the basil that has been sitting on my porch in a too-small container for three weeks now (!). Not to mention family, friends, and my social life. It's a tiny bit overwhelming.

Obviously, I need to quit my job and become a full time writer. Unfortunately, that isn't exactly possible right now. So I guess I need to relax with some of my other pursuits. Maybe train myself to run in the evenings, or on my lunch break? Maybe I need to watch less Battlestar Galactica, or go to the coffee shop with my laptop so I'm not tempted to fold laundry or rearrange my closet instead of writing. Maybe I need to be more efficient when I do things, and relax about the things that don't get done. I read this today and I quite liked it. 
A monk told Joshu, “I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me.”
Joshu asked, “Have you eaten your rice porridge?
The monk replied, “I have eaten.”
Joshu said, “Then you had better wash your bowl.”
At that moment the monk was enlightened.
Maybe I just need to be enlightened, and then it will all fall into place. Maybe.