Monday, December 29, 2008

The art of timeshifting

sunset at omega instituteI love the holidays and how everything seems to move slower this time of year. Work takes the backseat for friends, family, and yes even food. It's like we're 'off the clock' this week. Which can be a tremendous sense of relief for many of us time-starved individuals.

The current pace of life reminds me of a great book I read a couple years ago called Timeshifting by Stephan Rechschaffen. The author is the founder of the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, one of my favorite places to visit.

At Omega, you are immersed in a slower pace of life. You can't help but admire the beautiful natural surroundings, savor the food, and chat up other guests you don't even know. Every time I visit I come back rejuvenated and refreshed. And here too I feel 'off the clock.'

How great would it be if we could create this same feeling without having to go on a vacation?

We all have the ability to slow down and have more time to enjoy our life. This book showed me that. Our perception of whether we have enough time or not isn't determined solely by circumstances and responsibilities.

I really like the example in the book where the author would go around to different audiences and ask a simple question: "Do you feel like you have enough time in your life?"

When he'd ask this question in Corporate America, nobody would raise their hand. I guess that's what you'd expect. These guys are paid to keep busy. If not, a 'good' boss should just give them more work. Right?

So he'd also visit prisons and ask the same question to inmates who were literally "doing time." Yet again, he'd get the same response - no time. They'd complain about the chores they'd have as well as other responsibilities. They too were victims of time poverty.

But what about those folks that said yes? Certainly there must be some folks who felt like they had enough time. Well, in the rare instance someone would raise their hand, Rechtschaffen would ask "How is your life?" And more often than not, these people had a good life. They were very happy and had plenty of time.

Without knowing, most of us have unconsciously made the choice to 'keep busy' regardless of our responsibilities. Yet this example showed me we also have the power to shift from working against the clock to going with the flow of life.

When I feel the need to 'shift time' I often go for a walk in Prospect Park, sometimes leaving the watch at home. You'd be surprised how long twenty-some minutes can seem. And how healing.

1 comment:

Jaya said...

Wonderful blog and wonderful post! I think that awareness of one's mortality is a gift that (hopefully) propels us to value our time above ground a little more. People seem to really emphasize the spatial over the temporal these days.
I am a longtime reader of your blog; thanks for all of your honesty, humour and gorgeous recipes. What a breath of fresh air!

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