The following is a guest post by our own Awesome Nathalie Thompson, a long time reader and now contributing author at Deliberate Receiving. The holidays are often fraught with stress and too much to do, so this post couldn’t possibly be more, um, timely. Ha.
At this time of year, I tend to make it a point to sit down and get myself organized for the coming year. And what I always seem to spend the most time trying to figure out is how I’m going to deal with just that – my time. Sometimes I wish I had the power to freeze time, just so I can get more done in a day.
And that’s really quite odd if you think about it, because with all of the time-saving gizmos and gadgets that have been invented over the past 100 years, you’d think we’d all be spending our days lounging in hammocks and sipping piña coladas, with our most pressing decisions being whether to spend the afternoon playing golf or getting a massage.
An Inquiry into the Nature of Time
I don’t, however, know anyone who actually has a life like that; despite all of our attempts to get organized and save time, most of us still tend to feel like we’re running around like loose cannons most days, scrambling to keep on top of our crazy schedules and ever-growing “to-do” lists. Time, rather than money, really has become our greatest resource.
I started to wonder why that was, and whether there was anything that could be done about it. Was it possible to channel some of the powers of the fictional Time Lords of Doctor Who, and work with time in some way to avoid all this time-related stress? So I decided to do a little research.
I was already familiar with basic time-management principles; the nuts-and-bolts of organizing time as we perceive it, and I wasn’t satisfied with what it had taught me; I was still finding it hard to deal with time. So I focused my research on modern physics; I wanted to understand the very nature of time itself. And what I discovered is that time is such a strange thing that it isn’t even fully understood by the most brilliant physicists and mathematicians on the planet; to quote the good Doctor, despite all our attempts to define and understand it, time really is just “a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey… stuff”.
Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey Stuff
In the realm of quantum physics, time is a seriously weird phenomenon. At the quantum level, the future affects the past, and things really can be in two places at once. We can even instantly transport (tiny pieces of) matter from one place to another, à la Star Trek.
And while we may perceive time as a linear progression that flows ever-onwards external to us, physics tells us that this is not the case. From a somewhat more credible source than Doctor Who (and timey-wimey stuff aside), Brian Greene, a theoretical physicist at Columbia University, says in his book The Fabric of the Cosmos that all times exist all at once, like slices in a big time loaf, with each moment in time existing as a separate slice within that loaf.
Additionally, he says that “as hard as physicists have tried, no one has found any convincing evidence within the laws of physics that supports this intuitive sense that time flows”. It would appear that time just… is. All the times. All at once. All overlapping.
Now is Then: Thoughts and Time Delay
The next thing I discovered was that what we perceive as “now” is, in fact, not really now at all. It takes time for light to reach our eyes, even from as small a distance as the other side of the room we’re in, or from the monitor we’re currently reading. So what we are seeing and interpreting as “now” actually happened fractions of a second ago, in the past.
It made me wonder whether our thoughts are even occurring in the now, given the fact that it presumably takes some amount of time from the moment our thoughts are formed, to the point that we are aware of them; if, as research is currently indicating, we have about 70 000 thoughts per day, that delay would add up.
I think this is why our emotional guidance system is so important – we can’t be aware of all the thoughts we have in a day because there are just too many of them. But we don’t need to be aware of each of those thoughts because our emotions give us a constant gauge of where our thoughts are focused without knowing exactly what each of those thoughts happens to be, which makes that time delay irrelevant.
Our Perception of Time is Subjective
In The Fabric of the Cosmos, Brian Greene also says that “time for you need not be the same as time for me.” Melody touched on this in her post about the phrase “life is short” where she talked about how, for example, a tree with a correspondingly longer life span might perceive the passage of time quite differently than we do. And I think this is something that all of us understand at an intuitive level.
We’ve all experienced the phenomenon where time either speeds up or slows down, depending on what we happen to be doing. And we’re all familiar with such phrases as: “Time flies when you’re having fun” and “time slowed to a crawl” or “time stood still”.
It’s the idea that our perception of the passage of time can change with our thoughts about what’s happening in that time. And my interpretation of what’s happening in that time may be very different from yours. For example, if I had to watch a football game, time would likely pass excruciatingly slowly for me… it would crawl by in torturous slowness while I desperately wished I could be anywhere else. But someone who actually enjoys football would likely find the length of that game passing by “in the blink of an eye”.
Ah. Now we’re getting somewhere. All of these findings seem to lead back to perception. Our experience of time changes completely, depending on how we observe and interpret it. Time, it would appear, is mostly subjective.
Experiments with Time: Becoming a Time Lord
So this idea of time being subjective made me wonder if we can control how we experience time by changing how we think about it. For example, one of my own most frustrating experiences with time is that the more I rush, fret, and generally stress out about time, the less I seem to have of it. For example, I have two little ones and mornings can be especially stressful trying to get them up, fed, dressed and out the door in time for school.
On days when I’m feeling particular rushed, I’ve noticed that everything seems to happen to make that time crunch feel even worse; inevitably, I won’t be able to find my keys, or something will get spilled and need to be cleaned up, or my youngest child will have a last-minute tantrum that delays us all getting out of the house even further.
So I did an experiment. On a morning when we were running late and I was starting to panic about the kids being late for school, I deliberately told myself that we had plenty of time and that there was no need to rush. We ended up getting to school early, even though we were later than usual in getting started.
Time and again (no pun intended) I’ve repeated this “no rushing allowed” experiment, in different situations, and the result is always the same: time seems to stretch to accommodate me. Time itself seems to bend to the commandment that there is no need to rush; I have discovered that I am never late when I tell myself I have lots of time.
Summing it Up
If you want to gain more control of your time – if you want to be a Time Lord – all you really need to do is focus on your thoughts about time. As always, our thoughts affect our perception and emotions, our perception and emotions affect our actions, and our actions are the foundation for our physical reality. Change your thoughts and you change your perception and experience of time, which changes your actions with respect to that time. Start exercising your super-powers and make time work for you, rather than just being swept along with it!
Nathalie Thompson is the author of Seven-Minute Stress Busters and the Head Dream Catcher over at VibeShifting.com, where she helps people master the methods and mindsets of success and transform their dreams into reality. Pick up her free Build Your Best Life quick-start guide and bonus video series and start creating a life you really love, today!
this is how I understand the post.
Time doesn’t flow – only we do.
As we flow through those loaves of bread, we drag things along for the ride.
We move through life at various speeds, so we feel Time at various speeds.
If I accept this theory, then it leads to the idea that each one of us create our own Time Line “on the fly”.
This defies the popular belief that Time is the almighty linear force that drag everything along with it.
Oooh. I hadn’t considered that particular aspect of it — that we are the ones flowing — that’s brilliant. And the idea about each of us creating our own Time Line on as we go fits in very well with a conversation I recently had with someone about solipsism, parallel universes and what’s really “real”. I’ve been meaning to write a whole other article on that, actually. The gist of that particular conversation was that we create everything “on the fly” — as we move through our lives, we create brand-new realities, moment by moment, and wrap them around ourselves as we go.
It’s not just Time that we control… it’s absolutely everything — reality itself, entire Universes are created based on every decision and every thought that we put out there. And we are constantly shifting into new realities as we live our lives.
If “we” control everything, then we better define what “we” mean.
Who or what are we, really?
Yes, Nathalie, that is exactly what it is all about- You, me, I mean, the individual. I have been practicing this myself lately and I actually arrive early to destinations as well.
Nathalie you are everywhere nowadays! How lovely!
Also, this week in health news, researchers found that those who perceive of themselves as younger actually decrease their mortality and live longer. This is great news for us puppies who are really younger, yet thinking that way actually leads you that way, you know. At some point, you forget the actual age and become the age you feel because it is all in the feeling and the mindset. you create that reality, like telling another story, and viola!
Hello, A., and lovely to see you here, too. 🙂 Yep, I do seem to have been all over the Internet this month. It’s been keeping me busy, that’s for sure!
You’ll have to send me the link that research — I’d love to take a look at it! One of the mantras I like to use, just because it makes me smile, is: “I get younger, healthier, and more beautiful every single day.” I know it works just because it works, but I always like to read the science that backs this stuff up.
I do believe that age is mostly in our minds. I know people in their 80s who still play tennis every day. And Betty White, who at over 90 years old, still works full-time at something she absolutely loves to do is my work-life idol.
Seth Godin has a great quote about building the kind of life you really want to live, and he says: “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” I want to love what I do so much that I never want to retire! 🙂
How interesting. Just last night I was talking to myself about (I think out loud when I’m alone lol) why we age possibly. I know from experience that stress is a hindrance to the body, and can delay many functions. I wondered if the reason why people age quickly and become sickly is because when you’re a child, your vibration is higher, for example. You’re told all about following your dreams, and listening to your heart. But as you get older, it’s kind of like, nah we lied, dreams don’t actually come true. Lol. And all kinds of beliefs about unworthiness and hardship and such. So because of that, a lot of people’s attitudes change of course. Stress is a big problem in society and I think this is why. So is stress one of the things that causes this aging and / or illness amongst adults, therefore having given us the idea that our bodies “break down overtime” (because society draws pretty much all conclusions by looking at something at face value), when in fact what we’re witnessing is the result of stress on the body, since it can’t do it’s job as well under such conditions? I know people associate being an adult with hard work, struggle, no fun, etc and yet that’s also when we see things starting to “break down”, hm. I know it has to do with sheer expectation also, but this is just something I was thinking of last night. Also, I like Betty White. I see her on Hot in Cleveland, lol.
Stress is one of the worst possible things that we can put our bodies through. It affects both our mental and physical health, and has repercussions through every level of our lives. So yes, it can be a cause of premature aging. Constantly having stress hormones coursing through your body keeps you on high alert mode all the time, and our bodies were never meant to function like that.
On the positive side, stress is also mostly a result of how we react to the events of our lives, and it can be alleviated by changing the way we think about those events. I wrote a book about this, actually. It’s on Amazon Kindle, if you are interested. 🙂
I think part of the conflict that we experience as adults is that we tend to lose our conscious connection to Who We Really Are, at a core level. I think we’re all born knowing and feeling our connection to Source, but as we get older, it kind of gets taught out of us. We’re taught to ignore or deny that connection in an effort to make us fit in with the expectations of the society around us. But you can never fully turn that connection off — it’s just not possible. So, no matter how hard you try to be what you’re not, there is always going to be that insistent little voice within you that says “it’s not supposed to be like this”. Until we learn to let go and start listening to that internal wisdom again, I think we’ll always feel some degree of conflict and stress in our lives.
It is all a mindset. Take having a kid, an example that comes to mind at the moment. There is a rush to have one by 39, let us say. It used to be 25, then 29, then 35, then 39. But who is to say that one cannot have one after that, after being happy doing other things. The body is able to do so. I think the soul of the kid even knows this and things happen in perfect timing. Kids want happy moms.
If the body can do it, then why the mad rush? It seems kind of pathological to me, this madness that humans create. I am only bringing this up because who is to say that it cannot happen later on? Because it can. And the kid is healthy and smart and actually happy. It is the personal happiness that needs to come first. The statistics do not count because there are plenty of older women having kids when they are really ready and turn out just fine. So, do we go by what society says or what the soul says? When feeling good becomes the priority, then everything is possible.
A lot of that pressure does come from outside. I’ve had other women tell me that when they had their first babies after age 34, for instance, their pregnancies were considered “advanced maternal age” by the medical establishment and also considered higher-risk.
I think the decision about when (and even whether) to have children has to be a personal one. You’re the only one who can decide if it’s the right thing for you, and when.
And I do agree that kids definitely do better with happy moms (and happy dads). 🙂
There is intense pressure from society on women to have children by a certain age (or to have them in the first place), but that may be very slowly starting to wane. I think people in general are starting to realize that we don’t all follow the same path or the same timeline that’s been dictated over the past few generations: go to college, get married (or get married right out of high school), by a house, have babies, work at the same job until you retire. Going back to the original conversation (time), I wonder if that loops in with the pressure to do everything all at once–do as much as you can, have as much as you can, cram it in because “life is short.” (And we know Melody disagrees with that). We’re running out of time, we have to do what everyone expects us to do RIGHT NOW!
I went to college, then grad school, then worked, then grad school again, changed careers, bought a house. I would like to get married but don’t want kids. That life plan works for me. It might not work for the next person and that’s OK.
We have all the time in the world. 🙂
Amen to that last line! 🙂
Exactly. What one person chooses to do or experience with her life may be completely different from what another chooses to do. But it’s all good. It all contributes to All That Is, and it’s all important to the ongoing expansion of the Universe. How boring it would be if we all wanted the same things and same experiences… it’s the contrast and diversity that makes life as exciting as it is.
The more I work with this stuff, the more I’ve come to realize that any time we feel any kind of pressure in our lives, it’s the result of listening to outside voices and opinions. When we can let all of that go and really listen to our own inner wisdom and guidance, we know that there is no need to rush or panic about anything.
I noticed the phenomenon of time speeding up when I was rushed. It happened whenever I was running late for a class; it seemed like every possible obstacle would come up to make me late (once the bus I was on had engine problems twice on the way to class) but I found when I just calmed down I’d still end up on time for class some how.
But I have a question. How would I speed up time then? For example a slow day at work where I’m bored out of my mind? Would I just do the reverse and think that it’ll be 5 o clock in the blink of an eye?
“For example, a slow day at work where I’m bored out of my mind? Would I just do the reverse and think that it’ll be 5 o clock in the blink of an eye?”?
What you really want is not for it to be 5 o’clock, you want to feel good, you want to be having fun, and enjoying yourself. So, focus on those good feelings, and regardless of what time it is you will attract experiences that match those good feelings.
Nice reminder, Brian. Melody has taught us well!
Hi Jeminii — I’m going to second exactly what Brian said — what you really want is not so much for it to be the end of the day, but to feel happy and have fun, rather than feeling bored or trapped. The trick here is to avoid focusing on what you don’t want (being bored, for instance) and start focusing on feelings of being happy and having fun. As you start feeling that, the time will seem to pass by more quickly.
If you have a job where you are allowed to listen to your own music, you could try putting together a playlist on your MP3 player that you could listen to pump you up and lift your mood. Or you could visualize a happy scene or repeat a mantra or affirmation to accomplish the same thing.
Oh, yes, yes yes! I’ve been doing this very same thing for a little over 2 years now and it works — but the odd thing is, I started doing it because I couldn’t stand the stress & chaos anymore, not because I had the wits to figure out what I was doing in terms of LOA. Or that I was effectively working with *time* itself.
I started doing this in a stressful job where deadlines and time-crunches rule and everyone, most especially my boss, got into”Chicken Little Mode” every single day. She’d flap around in semi-hysterics, driving everyone crazy, panicking because we were going to be late, we weren’t going to get everything done and, oh yeah, the sky was falling.
I just opted out of the panic. I started slowing down by becoming very deliberate and focused on whatever I was doing in the moment. Instead of thinking about “all” I had to do and how little time I had to do it in & tearing in 15 directions at once, I’d work calmly and deliberately on what was at hand, telling myself and everyone around me to relax, that we had plenty of time, that all was well. People around me started doing the same thing — the level of panic would drop, people would relax, start breathing easier, things were getting done faster, actually, because we were making fewer mistakes and making better use of the time we had.
Our boss was still a crazy woman, but we got so we tuned her out for the most part & just did our jobs, deadlines got met, everything was under control. We slowed time, although I didn’t think of it that way until reading this post. I quit that job and am self-employed now but I still “slow time” regularly when I have a lot to do and not an awful lot of “real” time in which to do it. I just take a deep breath & do one thing at a time, telling myself I’m In Easy World (thanks to Julia Rogers Hamrick) where I have all the time in the world and everything is easy — it works every single time (no pun intended)!
I like your concept of “slowing time,” especially when you are surrounded by, as you say, Chicken Littles.
I’ve worked in healthcare as a non-clinical employee for 10 years, 6 in an actual hospital and 4 in the corporate office. Knowing that people were around the corner literally curing cancer and doing brain surgery always kept things in perspective. What I do in my job is not life or death–it IS for some of my fellow employees. I wish all the people in my corporate office would have to do a 6 month stint working in the hospital. That should help them cool their jets on some of the petty things they freak out over.
I’ve worked in a few job like that myself. Never fun. And it never even occurred to me back then that getting myself caught up in all the craziness was just compounding the problem. Those were stressful years. But, as they say, “know better, do better” — now that I know how well this strategy works, I tend to be much better able to avoid getting sucked into those panicked action situations.
And you touched on a very important point about being in the moment — being mindful about whatever we happen to be doing in the present moment keeps us grounded. There’s a quote I really like from Lao Tzu that says: “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
I loved “Choosing Easy World”! I had a big energy/perspective shift after reading that one, actually. It’s so simple, but it’s so powerful. 🙂
Hi Melanie — I think this effect is likely true no matter what the situation happens to be; the more we rush, the more stressed out we get and the less time we seem to have. And if you can keep yourself in that higher, calmer vibrational space, then this will help everyone around you to calm down, too. I do like the idea of a protective time-bubble… great mental image, and could be a really useful visualization tool to help people get themselves into that calmer, “no-rushing” mindset. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Great post, Nathalie! I was just noting how other people at work seem to be rushing around in a panicked mad frenzy. The more they rush they more stressed out they become. I just smile calmly, speak slowly, ask clarifying questions (because you can’t do that if your brain is in a crazy swriling beehive fury) and it seems to form a protective bubble around me. My desk is clean and to-do list is checked off. I am a Time Pimp.
I have really got to try this. I can relate to rushing around like a mad person in the mornings trying to get myself and my son dressed for school and work. I am always telling him “hurry, hurry, hurry!” I already wake up at 5AM every morning to meditate and work out, so I’m really not too keen on waking up any earlier.
And just as you said, when I feel the most rushed is when I can’t seem to find anything or my son is playing instead of getting dressed.
I added the song “Time is on My Side” by The Rolling Stones to my MP3 player. I might start listening to this every morning while I get dressed.
Thanks for the advice Nathalie. 🙂
You’re welcome, Summer Star, and definitely give it a try and let me know how it goes! I’ve been blown away with how consistent my (admittedly highly unscientific) test results have been. I’m really curious to see how this process works for other people.
P.S. I think that’s a great song to start your day with… I may have to give that a try myself. That song with my morning affirmations audio… could be a really powerful way to get the day off to the right start! 🙂
I tried it this morning. I listened to that song while I was getting dressed. It’s a really calming song and I felt calm all morning and not rushed at all. 🙂
So I was just about to grab my keys to warm up the car – thinking it was almost time to go – I glance at the clock and I had gotten myself and my son dressed almost 20 minutes earlier than normal (about 16 minutes if ya wanna be technical 🙂 ), so we got to sit around and goof off for a bit and so far, today has been one of those days where I get little blessings and synchronicities left and right! I’ll be doing this every morning now. 🙂
That’s awesome, Summer! I love hearing other people’s success stories, and I think you now qualify as an official Time Lord! 😉
I really enjoyed this post…found it very interesting. I liked you how mentioned the importance of our emotional guidance. Like you said, we have so many thoughts throughout the day, monitoring them would be impossible. Our feelings certainly cue us in to what is happening in our internal world quite nicely. I think this is very helpful for people who are just starting with LOA, or seasoned ‘enthusiasts’ who could probably use some nice reminders of the basics from time to time, who get caught up with the ‘thought’ aspect and forget the core is feeling not our exact thoughts.
I also liked your tip about changing about how you are thinking about time, and telling yourself you have enough. That higher vibing place will definitely help things go more smoothly–we can easily block so much when we are in a more frantic state of mind, like forgetting where we placed something, not seeing the more efficient way to do something,etc..
Hi Kelli — so glad you enjoyed the post. Agreed, our emotional guidance system give us all the feedback we need to monitor where our thoughts happen to be focused, without needing to know what those thoughts are. The core of it all, however, goes beyond our feelings and is more centred on our beliefs and expectations about things. And again, our emotions are the indicator as where those beliefs and expectations are focused.
Changing the way we think about time affects the beliefs and expectations we have about time. When we can shift ourselves into a better vibrational alignment with “having lots of time”, this affects the reality we experience… giving us more of that time. 🙂