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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Reflections on time....


"I never have enough time...to be the best father, husband etc...."

Let's try to unpack (translate, interpret) this universal cry that we all hear, may even have uttered at moments of frustration. Physicists describe time as the measure of the movement of things in space...Rovelli defines time as an illusion.

It is the question of our unique "take" on our own particular situation that matters most on this question as on so many others.
We "create" our own world, in terms of how we integrate, interpret and respond to people, events, theories and even god.
In a "Christian" culture, a penetrating foundational premise is the "fall" as depicted in Genesis. And as some cogent writing is appearing advocating for the cultural abandonment of "Genesis" ( a reasonable and provocative premise), I offer a slightly different notion: that "the fall" must not be conflated with personal unworthiness, scarcity, inadequacy. And yet, in our cultural and conventional habit (proclivity,) to use words in a very general and imprecise way...And we have monstrous machines reinforcing that tendency: think law enforcement, incarceration, news about bad behaviour and the constant barrage of comparisons of "good" and "bad" people.

Truthfully, we are all capable of both good and "not-good" deeds, words, thoughts....And while we have e experienced both kinds from others we also have "done" both....

Nevertheless, as in so many instances, we do not serve our best interests and tendencies (as the "flowers" and the gifts of our life) through an excessive concentration on our inadequacies.
We are not likely to become better fathers or husbands or colleagues by issuing a "stream" of critical parent judgements to ourselves...whether we believe we are "short" of time of money or social status or friends or...or...or ..

We caution our children in that manner. Our parents deployed the same approach in our lives...and too often those very voices haunt us long after their owners have died.
Indeed, much of adult life for many consists of shedding those projections of "fear" and judgement that far exceeded the dimensions of the moment they were uttered.

Back to the perplexing "time deficit"...
The clock and calendar will continue to march regardless of how we "perceive" that process. We can control, manage and rely on only our own way of adapting to the hands of our watches or the number on our calendars.

And if course there will always and inevitably develop "things" like deaths, sickness, market shifts, broken alliances and friendships, injuries and even very unsettling information from "outside" that rock our personal equilibrium..however we have both created and rested in that state.
Those "traumas" too will take emotional time and serve as distractions and interruptions to our previously developed plans.

And yet, like the cliche lyrics have it, "life is what happens we you are making plans".
Henri Nouwen wrote that, while he was preparing and delivering lectures, marking papers and attending meetings was always being interrupted. When he reflected back he concluded what the song lyrics declare...that his real-life was in those interruptions.

Under classical management theory and praxis, work is organized by task and time. Efficiencies in business and the marketplace depend on the equation: time is money. And inevitably most of us comply with that equation, given the "carrots and sticks" of classical conditioning that management design and deliver.

And then, we slide into a similar, if not precisely identical, process of "managing" our self-talk...
And that leads us back to the opening line of this piece.

If we could/can see how we came to the place where we were frustrated by our perceived "deficit" of whatever it is we have to "make up" in order to come to respect ourselves, then we can detoxify the criticism. Only then can we re-evaluate how we arrange our schedule, or our finances or our .....(fill the blank) to restore our confidence and trust in ourself.

Whether time is illusion or not, like death it  is a finite "thing" meted out to all equally. So if our critical parent really cares beyond issuing "accusations"  or "charges or at least when we begin to neutralize the poison in at those "hot-buttons" their might be feasible for us to change both our own affairs and then listen differently when others make similar sounds in our life.

Often, colleagues too unconsciously throw around critical judgements of our deficit  (as they see it) only to serve the purpose of elevating their view of their own worth...and we have to become aware of those unjustified slights. They may have been motivated by some kind of parental concern that we improve how we behave. However too often they say much more about their spokesperson than the target.

Again, recognizing how pervasive is this cultural addiction to criticism and put-down really is, and the depth of the hurt and injury and emotional wounds this habit inflicts, we could) can then begin to withdraw from using it as either our rationalization or our unwarranted critical parent again beating a drum worn thin from overuse.

We can and do construct our world view of our self in relation to our deficits...and not our assets.
And becoming aware of this tendency can lead to new insights of both ourselves and our colleagues.

There really is hope....within!

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