The View Through Which We See Our Lives
(The purpose of this newsletter is to bring into question how we see the world, suggest that we can view life as we each want it to be rather than how we may have been conditioned to see it, and create a more satisfying experience while “slowing down” the crazy pace that many of us find ourselves in.)
Earlier this year I was offered the chance to teach a graduate student a one semester course from a local college. She lived in another state and is an adult learner. Together we had to choose the focus, title, and learning goals, as well as the reading material for the course. The student is a creative artist, but also interested in helping others use art as a means to release stress and live their true purpose. We eventually settled on a title, “Creative Life Coaching”.
I was fortunate to have a student who is motivated and committed to her path, which made my role much easier. One goal of Copper’s was to discover a way to become more organized; so one of the books we settled on was entitled Creating Time — Using Creativity to Reinvent the Clock and Reclaim Your Life by Marney K. Makridakis. (I suspected the book would be a good one, as the forward was written by a teacher of mine, Marci Shimoff— a New York Times Bestselling Author who had written an endorsement for my second book, Take Charge of Your Life.)
One reason I like to teach is that I know I will learn some important things to apply to my life. Creating Time offered me the chance to view life from a whole new perspective, for which I am quite thankful. I had previously read Guy Hendrick’s book, The Big Leap, that also presented this new-for-me paradigm, but it took me two times to embed it in my psyche. (Twice is not bad, I think, for a senior guy! 🙂
Here’s the deal. For the past many decades I have been thinking of life as a kind of box in which I needed to accomplish a bunch of things within a certain period of time. The pressure was on achieve, as it is for many of us in today’s busy culture of “doing to succeed.” From throughout our school years when we are tested to achieve and learn what others thought was important, to jobs in which are tested to perform, and to the self-imposed need to appear as a success in the world, many of us operate within ‘clock time’ to get things done. For years I have been rushing ahead to achieve something, even when I didn’t know exactly what it was. I once thought it was to keep one step in front of the demons which were on my heels; but now I think it was to stay ahead of the clock before it struck twelve when I would turn into a pumpkin!
Now that I had a view of what I was reactively choosing based on my need to perform, our culture’s pressure to succeed, and the overwhelming speed at which information and choices are passing before us each day, what was I to do to slow things down? Ah-ha . . . got it! Change from seeing life based on ‘clock time’ and the pressure to keep up to . . . what exactly? The idea is that if we focus on, say living our purpose (suggested by the book), time expands. Obviously there remain the same number of hours in the day, but how we perceive and experience those hours can apparently change immeasurably.
So I had to pick my view through which I pictured life in front of me; that is, that which was ahead as a future opportunity to create. This concept is based on the fact that time and space exist as separate and that there is a future, as opposed to the opposite view that time and space collapse and are one~ possibly as we fully experience the present moment. So what view would I choose? Today I chose Health and Wellbeing as a way to s-l-o-w down and experience life as a more peaceful place in which I am in the middle. And it feels great! The old ‘time box’ seems to have temporarily disappeared, and I am left feeling quite a bit more free and in charge of my life.
(Suggestion: when you become aware that you rushing about to accomplish your To Do List and are stressing out about it, take a few deep belly breaths which provide a great transition experience prior to re-focusing on your new empowering paradigm.)
I suspect, and hope, that you have your own new view through which life appears, and would love to know what that is. If you choose to send it to me, in part to validate that we can shift paradigms and create a more fulfilling life experience rather than just accept that which seems to be the norm, I will gladly tally and send back the findings.
I hope this article was effective in bringing into question how we see the world, suggesting that we can view life as we each choose it to be rather than how we may have been conditioned to see it, and offering an example of creating a more satisfying experience that ‘expands time’ while slowing down the crazy pace of life that many of us find ourselves in.