I read this quote in an interview with spiritual guru Dandapani yesterday and it just had my brain do a backflip. A simple statement I know, but still a very fine and powerful distinction for me and so I wanted to start a dialogue with my inner voice to see how that statement could truly impact mine and many others lives.
You see a lot of the people I have worked with feel overwhelmed and desperate. They write to me that they want help with Time Management. I have a little chuckle to myself as I have my own cynical view on time management systems. I believe that most of them don’t work or at least most of them don’t work long term, just like a fad diet. In fact I see them making the problem worse. But I really do hear the stress and overwhelm and the pressure they feel they are under to get it all done and keep all their balls up in the air.
I’m like a lot of people out there today. I’m a single parent and so there is only me to parent my children when they are in my care. A lot of married couples can still feel like single parents too, as they juggle careers and children and volunteering at the lamington drive and training for the next marathon. I work multiple aspects of my business, squeeze in my meditation, and make super turbo paper aeroplanes whilst haggling with the bank on the phone to reverse the double interest charge on my account. I have somewhere in the vacinity of 24 hours (plus or minus an hour for daylight savings) like everyone else.
As an interior stylist, I see time and space as being part of the same whole. When you create a space, a physical environment be it a house, an office or an event, bringing in the element of time is always essential to create peace and tranquility, productivity, and focus or fun and learning. I even have a secret crush on the Minimalist style “movement”. I look at pictures of minimalists and wonder ‘how do they do that?’ like they are Olympic gymnists turning themselves into a pretzel on the gym mat. I read all about the lifestyle choices they make and rant to myself that it is all very well for them to take the moral high ground and not drive a car, not have a book shelf and only own two chairs, they don’t have children with toys + a one hour school run + guests coming over. I say to myself that when I grow up I will be a minimalist but just like most time management systems, it is just not in my nature to follow a pre determined set of rules, and anyway, I love colour way more than I love white.
Dandapani says “I often hear people saying; ‘My life is so frantic – I have to take my children to school, then they have soccer practice, music class, concert practice etc etc etc and we don’t get home till eight at night’. And I say to them: Your only obligation is to take them to school, all these other things you’ve created for yourself. Your children don’t need to do be doing a hundred different things. Just pick one activity and be good at that because otherwise life gets out of control.”
I absolutely agree with him and I see people that are exhausted with the trying, exhausted with the attempting to meet the needs of everyone in the family, the needs of their boss, the needs of the community, and maybe a few of their own needs, forgetting that most of them aren’t needs, just wants and desires. There is depression and mounting consumer debt and bigger houses etc (but I will save that soap box for another time).
I know I could do with a regular simplification check up every once in a while. Simplify to the max, not to the minimum! Now that is something I can get my creative teeth into and it feels abundant and spacious and like a juicy adventure to see how much of it I can fit into my four dimentional time/space universe. So this is where my imagination goes when I think of life from the vantage point of simplifying to the max.
Say no to a lot of offers so I have room to say Yes to the essential and important. After all it is easier to change my mind on a no than it is on a yes. If the offer has run out then know that another one is on its way.
Understand that if I am just not able to ‘fit/squeeze’ something in to my day, week, year then it was not important enough to begin with and be cool with that.
Stop asking my children to wait a minute. After a time those minutes add up to be years of time not spent with them as they grow up.
Invest my time purposefully. Take my time as seriously as I do my money. Spend it, invest it and reap its rewards by being in the present moment as often as possible.
Remind myself that meditation is one of the best productivity tools known to man and so make it a need and not a want.
Keep it about love. If it is not about love then it is not essential and can wait.
And yes, finally, give away more stuff. Including give away the harmonium that I haven’t started playing at all since I got back from India three years ago, to my girlfriend who is a professional Kirtan singer. She needs it. I don’t.
I find myself humming the Rolling Stones; “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.” I always thought that song was really negative. Like being told I couldn’t have the 20c bag of mixed lollies when I was a little girl (Whoops. 20c. Age bust). However, now I see from a spiritual perspective that the Rolling Stones may have been on to something. It may just be what helps create some perspective that saves peoples sanity. To be able to decern need from want and essential from choice. To simplify to the max and create more time, space and inner peace.