One of the most common and easy ways I personally “choose” to disconnect from the present moment is by telling myself that "I don't have - enough - time”.
When I see the world through the filter of this belief, anything becomes an interruption, something out of plan becomes an inconvenience, and anxiety starts ruling my entire life.
Does it sound familiar to you?
I have noticed this belief in thousands of people around the world, coming from different cultural and social backgrounds. It seems that, no matter where we were born or how we grew up, many of us have always lived with the limited belief that time is running out. And although you and I know that our existence on this earth does have a limit, the feeling that we can somehow control the time completely disconnects us from the moment we are in so forgetting our priorities.
At the beginning of this year, my mom went on a trip to Italy to visit my siblings and due to the COVID emergency she’s got stuck overseas for six months to only come back home last week. A couple of days after her return, she asked me if I could accompany her to make some commissions and my immediate response was: “I can't, I have a lot to do. I got my work routine to carry on and I can’t miss out”.
Of course - after feeling guilty and not supportive - I eventually helped her out but that feeling of anxiety of not being able to finish my duties couldn’t go away. It was in that moment that I realized how my bad belief of not having enough time – and the consequent feeling of anxiety - was disconnecting me from reality, preventing me from enjoying my mother which I hadn’t seen for such a long time.
In that moment of epiphany, not only I went and help her with her commissions, but we stopped for a coffee together and talked for hours. We spent a wonderful morning together sharing one of those moments that fill your soul and make my life something special. Incredibly, upon returning, I also finished all my work in much less time than I expected! And without anxiety!
Once again Life was reminding me that Time is relative, that when I open myself to the vastness of the present moment, my priorities become clear and I can connect heart to heart with the people I love.
I know it is not a simple practice, I don't always manage to see myself in the moment and most of the times I do it later. However, I know that it is something we can cultivate, for example by practicing Meditation and Mindfulness. These practices allow us to see our limiting beliefs in real time, they give us the ability to avoid reactive patterns, providing us with the mental space to respond to life events with awareness.
Here you will find some self-enquiring questions that will allow you to investigate what is behind certain automatic behaviors that all of us, as human beings, have. As you write down your answers - it will take a couple of minutes - observe them without judgment, use self-compassion instead, remembering that it is not about being perfect but embracing all that we are with love.
• How many times have you happened to prioritize things that you think you have to do (work, cleaning, reply to a message ...) neglecting instead what is really important to you? Think of a recent example: how did you feel after that decision?
• What is your general belief about Time?
• Make a list of 3 believes you have in relation to time and write down how you react when you are under the influence of those beliefs