Time Affluence – Developing a Practice of Experiencing Awe

by elizabethbrantley

Drew picked up on it this morning.

“Are you ok?… Are you happy?”

I had to face the question with honesty. In truth, the underlying current of my being really wasn’t happy. It was muddled. Overwhelmed. Being beaten up by my own self-criticism. By looking at myself honestly, I knew exactly what he felt- I had lost a sense of myself.

We took some time to describe what exactly it was – why wasn’t I happy. I went through a laundry list of tasks at work and we talked of chunking it down and making it manageable. And, as always, when you continue to talk and really look at the issue, the superficial reasons began to peel away and the heart of the issue emerged.

“I haven’t written.” I finally realized a deeper issue. “I haven’t written because I don’t feel connected to God.”

And that’s the truth. The laundry list of tasks has become a tool of the ego to keep me from living in the present, from dwelling in awe, from trusting in someone and something greater than myself.

Could I flip this around? Could I look to the directives of “my tasks” as coming from the Divine, even if they are presented in a secular world?

The truth is that I knew when I accepted and took this job that it was aligned with a Divine plan. There were signs and perfections scattered throughout the days. Now that it has revved up, I seem to have forgotten the tremendously powerful perspective that it is Divinely Perfect. I seemed to have forgotten how to remain alert, assiduous and diligent – and happy, carefree, and joyous.

The solution, for today, suggested by Drew was to have a happy day. A day dedicated to finding and living in that balance again. I couldn’t agree with him more.

But the tool that really helped me begin this day was an article posted by a friend entitled, “How to make time expand”. Everything within me knew that this was really the issue. It wasn’t the work, the tasks, the job, my overwhelm (I am excited to finally be doing so many things that I love to do) – it’s that I had lost my sense of having abundant time.

When I was intensely practicing yoga last year, I remember the message being delivered that there was more than enough time to do everything. There was more than enough time to accomplish your dreams and your goals. To love those that you love. To transform your mind, body and spirit to be its best. There was so much freedom in this idea. I swam in it. I drank it up. And remarkably, by living in this place of abundant time, I accomplished more. I was more productive, happy, aligned than ever before. The article calls this “time affluence”, a recent term that directly corrects the other aspect of “time famine”. It is rare when you are looking for a term, a phrase to encapsulate what you are struggling with, and then it comes in the most unusual channels to you, but that is exactly what happen today.

Time affluence, and what creates it, is being studied now and I look forward to hearing their research and trying it in practice. But the two things they suggest to create more “time affluence” in the article are giving time away and experiencing awe.  Not only do we have the satisfaction of helping others, of feeling useful and productive when we give our time away to others, but there is also a sense of definitive ending. The tasks we see for ourselves can drag on forever, and this creates more time famine than time affluence.

Then the idea of experiencing more awe is fascinating. Awe brings us to the present moment. Awe creates a sense of time loss – expanding time to be eons within a moment. We lose ourselves (including our “to-do” lists) and we feel happy. But can we do that without going to a waterfall, or meeting a baby for the first time?

Yes, we can. It’s all a matter of perspective, and stopping to see what really is around and within you.

When looking at this concept of awe, this morning, I realize the real reason I write. I write because each day there are hidden pockets of awe waiting to be dwelled in, discovered, played with and lived. I experience loss of time when I write because here I am truly in awe. I am in awe of the workings and perfection around me. I am in awe of the emotions I experience, the thoughts that I have, the ideas I am exposed to.  Writing is my practice of experiencing awe.

I had been pushing writing away for the past few weeks, so no wonder I have been feeling pressed for time and not connected with God. The short 20 minutes I take to write on something remarkable, on some Divine aspect of life that is around me seeps into all other aspects of life. By expanding time just once a day, in one way – I can expand it in everything.  Writing takes me out of living in the future and puts me immediately engaging with the present. This, the present moment, is the only dwelling place of endless possibilities, love, grace and joy.

I can see now that I am not a writer. I am a discoverer. I am an observer. I am a lover. I write because I cannot help but to share what I discover and observe. I write because this is my processing tool. Writing enables me to play and interact with the Divine that is all around me and within me. It is in writing,  in these moments of expanse, that I catch the most wonderful, awe-inspiring, True Life I can ever imagine. And it is in writing that I hope to share, to give this to you, too.

 

 

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