Space and Time

In lockdown a lot becomes clear. Not just your foibles and personal areas ripe for growth, not just your pet peeves and your annoyances at those who cannot follow directions even for their own good, but also the things you are grateful for. These might become apparent in the longing for human connection – you don’t know how good you have it until it is gone – or in the little things you see for the first time because you have slowed down enough to notice.

For me, I am noticing once again my propensity for being busy and in a reactive state. I’ve listened with envy to those who are wondering what to do with all the time and space they have now due to lockdown. I’ve been bombarded by should-dos – all of the amazing webinars and online plays and films and offerings that are calling out to me “if I was really serious about…”. I’ve imagined the amazing things I would do if I had the time and space, but I’ve been unwilling to admit that I am the one in charge of my time and space. I am the one who makes the decision to be in reactive mode, constantly doing because it has to be done. It doesn’t feel like a decision because it feels like responding to a call of duty. It feels noble. I like putting out fires, solving problems, doing the work, it helps me feel fulfilled, useful and appreciated. It doesn’t, however, help me feel autonomous or grounded.

Slowing down and creating space for big thinking, or just non-reactive thinking, is a choice. And mostly I leave that choice up to circumstance – “I can’t take time off now, there’s this deadline today, I have to do this and that and this is coming up and if I don’t do that, who will.” However, it is with time and space that ingenuity has room to blossom. Yes, it is more responsibility to claim your own space, to make decisions from a grounded bird’s eye persepective. If I’m in charge of how I spend my time and the space I create for thinking outside the box, then it is only myself who I have to answer to. I create the space I need to manage all the jobs I’ve been given. Everything can still get done, even if I don’t do them at a frantic, desperate, head down, don’t look up pace. And in fact, as many efficiency and good-work-practice gurus share, giving yourself room to make those decisions (active vs. reactive) wholeheartedly and with forethought about how you spend your time and energy gives you power. And maybe that in the end is part of what we are afraid of, the great power we have within us to make change, to listen to our own instincts, to know what one action will make the biggest impact. There is so much power at our fingertips, but that is something, if you’re anything like me, we’ll do anything to avoid.

So, if you can, claim some space and time for you today. Get a little distance from the have-tos (they’re going to feel really pressing and you might think to yourself, “well it’s nice and easy for you, but I don’t have that luxury”) and tune in to the want-tos, the wouldn’t this be fun-tos, the true deep down yeses that light your fire. You may be surprised by what you discover.

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