Tiny Wisdom: On Making Peace with Time

“Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.” -Joan Borysenko

The other day, as I approached the street I needed to cross to visit the Coffee Bean near my apartment, I noticed there were only 5 seconds left on the walk signal. Instinctively, I ran. With a laptop. And a purse. In the heat. And why?

If I missed the walk signal, there would be another one in a little over a minute. The president wasn't waiting on me with lattes getting cold. And there wasn't a baby in the middle of the road who needed rescuing. It was like some type of Pavlovian response to the ticking countdown. I saw it, and I decided to accept the challenge of making it (which I did).

Ridiculous though this admission may be, I noticed that lots of us struggle to beat the clock when it's completely unnecessary.

We speed up to make green lights, even though it would be far less stressful to just wait for the next one.

We try to squeeze additional tasks into small unexpected windows of time, instead of simply appreciating the extra ten minutes that result when someone is late to a meeting.

We set ourselves up to struggle with time even though there's no rational reason to do it. It's far more useful to save the energy it takes to rush than it is to save two minutes. It's much more productive to recharge during unexpected downtime than to scurry to get things done.

It's just that sometimes we forget that saving time and filling it are not the same as using it well.

Today if you find yourself rushing and cramming activities into your minutes, remember: It's a lot easier to live in the moment when you choose not to make the moment stressful.

Photo by Lara604

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • LOVE this post! It’s so true. I have actually started to enjoy waiting on line (I’m not kidding). I take it as an opportunity to just relax and breathe. Of course, I still do exactly what you did (running to make the light) and so thanks for reminding us just how silly it is! 🙂 Barbara

  • Hi Lori, awesome post again. Thank you for the little reminder.

    I can totally relate to what you are saying, and have caught myself so often rushing to get things done. And what typically happens, is that I end up re-tracing my steps because I forgot something along the way, thus taking even more time, and causing unnecessary frustration.

    I even have a little mantra whenever I feel myself rushing around 😉

    Thanks again for a great post, and talk soon!


  • Anonymous

    I love this realisation Lori. I stopped running for buses quite few years ago now ~ there’s always the next one ~ and it saves running across busy roads dodging the traffic. Keeps the day real calm too.


  • Nicola

    i nearly got knocked down today, running across the road, i shall now stop and savour the moment of waiting…..and live another day

  • Today I am too exhausted to rush anywhere for anything, but I do understand what you’re talking about.  It makes perfect sense.  Thanks Lori!

  • Very important point made here. Its when you slow down that you actually start living life. Its those moments between the walk sign that you notice the flowers on the road or the innocent kid admiring the clouds. Its these small things that you allow yourself to experience that can and will drastically change your perception of your day or even life.  

  • Lori, I really identify with your point about setting yourself up to struggle. I often find that whether its a drive for perfection or some type of fear created within the mind, we often procrastinate to avoid unpleasantness, only to find ourselves in a worse place as we rush to get things done. The older I get, the more I find that most stress is the result of our own doing.

  • Pingback: On making peace with time von « N-o-t-i-z-b-l-o-g()

  • Oh boy…this is so true. I will have to remember this next time I’m “rushing” for no reason at all.

  • Oh boy…this is so true. I will have to remember this next time I’m “rushing” for no reason at all. Thank-you. Great blog. 🙂

  • As there have been various momments during my current life when I have nearly died, and others when I could have been badly injured, just living in the moment isn’t long enough. I live for the whole of today and live for the whole of tomorrow. Because tomorrow is a wholesome brand new beginning when something wonderful could happen. That’s why we have karma. Karma is peace and joy, not stress.

  • Joel DeWyer

    Thank you for sharing this sentiment. Was exactly what I needed to hear at the moment I wanted to hear it.

  • You’re most welcome!

  • This moment right now is also a wholesome brand new beginning. =)

  • Yes, I have done it many times before! Sometimes it really seems like the stress is external, but when I clear away all my fears, worries, and complaints, I realize there is no stress left.

  • Great point! The little things make a big difference when we take the time to notice them.

  • I am having one of those today, actually. No rushing for me today!

  • Yup, that’s been me before, too. It’s bizarre that instinct to run to save a minute. I’m now using waiting as an exercise in personal growth, and I find it makes me much calmer.

  • That’s great, Steve! I’ve noticed that I’ve caused myself a lot of stress over being punctual–as if being 10 minutes late is far worse than causing myself unnecessary anxiety. I think it stems from my people-pleasing tendencies. If I’m late, I fear, I will upset someone. I’ve been telling myself, though, that it’s better to allow that when necessary than to upset myself!

  • I love your mantras, Sirena. =) 

  • You’re most welcome! What a great way to look at waiting in line. =)

  • Thank you! We all need a reminder about how to use the time that we have 🙂

  • You are most welcome. =)

  • You are most welcome. =)