Tiny Wisdom: When Time Feels Constricting

“An unhurried sense of time is in itself a form of wealth.” ~Bonnie Friedman

Have you ever felt controlled by time?

This has been a lifelong challenge for me. Sometimes it can be difficult for me to truly immerse myself in the present, because I can feel constricted by imaginary strings, tethered to an invisible clock.

Years back, I always snapped from ease to anxiety at the end of a yoga class, tiptoeing toward the door with an eye on my watch while others melted into bliss in their final relaxation pose.

While I now allow myself to take a full shavasana (and leave my watch at home), I still occasionally find myself being rigid with time.

Just this weekend, I rode my bike from Santa Monica Beach to Venice Beach and back, and planned to walk around for exactly a half-hour between rides.

But I didn’t have a good reason for that arbitrary scheduling; I had other things to do that day, but no need to limit myself to exactly 30 minutes of exploring.

So instead of following my well-laid plan, I chained my bike and then walked along the shore for as long as I felt like doing it—which turned out to be a little shy of an hour.

It almost felt like time stopped, just because I stopped thinking about it. And it didn’t cause any great disruption to my day. If anything, it enhanced it, because that sense of freedom and ease permeated everything else I did.

I realize we can’t always disregard the clock, but we can liberate ourselves by expanding beyond our self-imposed restrictions—even if it only means lingering for just a little longer than usual.

Maybe it’s choosing to sip your coffee while basking in the sunlight for a few minutes, instead of rushing to your car.

Or chatting with someone new at the gym for a bit instead of hightailing it to the showers.

Or simply releasing the urgency that creates haste and stress.

Remember when we were kids, and we tried to do something difficult, like sign our names in cursive? The adults in our lives often told us to take our time—to realize there was no rush, so we could just relax and focus on the task at hand.

Usually that only took a moment or two more than it would otherwise, but those minutes made a huge difference.

Isn’t enjoying our lives just as worthy of that relaxed attention?

We all have places to go and things to do, but we can only enjoy those experiences if we release the tension that binds us. Most often, we put that pressure on ourselves—which means we have the power to release it.

Photo by h.koppdelaney

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She started the site after struggling with depression, bulimia, c-PTSD, and toxic shame so she could recycle her former pain into something useful and inspire others do the same. She recently created the Breaking Barriers to Self-Care eCourse to help people overcome internal blocks to meeting their needs—so they can feel their best, be their best, and live their best possible life. If you’re ready to start thriving instead of merely surviving, you can learn more and get instant access here.

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