Stop trying to make time. Enter into relationship with time.
Guest Post by Marisa Goudy, Copywriter and Storytelling Coach
“Creating in the midst of chaos is your superpower.”
When someone first said this to me, I took it as a compliment. I’m a mother, a business owner, and a creative. Chaos seems inevitable. It’s better to embrace the mad swirl of the full catastrophe than it is to resign yourself to a narrow, boring existence, right?
I’m not so sure any more. I’m not so sure all this chaos is as effective or enticing as it used to be.
WHEN CREATIVE CHAOS JUST BECOMES… CHAOS
Not so long ago, everything from entrepreneurship to parenthood seemed like an exciting, all-encompassing experiment. Each day dawned with new challenges and rewards. It seemed like a fool’s errand to try to limit such creative possibility with something as pedestrian as time management strategies.
Inevitably, layers of complexity forced me to shape those uncharted days into more structured routines. A second daughter, the elementary school calendar, the needs of an evolved business partnership, the tug of a novel, the launch of a podcast… Winging it stopped feeling “open-minded.” It began to feel amateurish and unsustainable.
But that addiction to chaos is tough to kick. It’s still tempting to go with the flow and wrest order from chaos by strength of will alone. They don’t pass out super powers every day, after all. If making it happen in the midst of a daily fire storm looks so impressive, why quit?
THE RELATIONSHIP WITH TIME REALLY DOES SHIFT OVER A LIFETIME
When I had my first experience with Jeffrey’s Mind Rooms Guide, I didn’t pick up on his references to the “middle years” and how we need to look at time differently as we age. I was still living on the fumes of youthful exuberance, I guess.
These days, I am waking up to the reality of life’s messy middle. Most tasks don’t draw toward a satisfying conclusion because everything seems to begin again the next morning. There’s always something to cook up and clean up, write up and talk up.
As much as the cycles of daily responsibilities seems endless, I’m also realizing that there are certain projects that could have dazzlingly delicious conclusions – if I’d only let them. Ironically, these are usually the projects that will be forced to wait forever unless I give them a place on my calendar. Now.
I think of the novel Jeffrey helped me shape at his retreat back in 2014. The book didn’t just languish because I’m a busy mom. It stalled because I promised I’d make time for it. In truth, I can’t make any more time (not one of my super powers, sadly). I can only shape time for it.
WHEN YOU QUIT TRYING TO MAKE TIME, YOU GET TO ENTER INTO RELATIONSHIP WITH TIME
Finally – finally! – I’m growing wise enough to understand that everything important in my personal and professional life deserves its place, but it’s probably not “right this instant” or “when I get a chance.”
As my family grows, as my business grows, as I grow, I’m beginning to appreciate the layers of time that shape this life. I’m also beginning to truly see how I’m responsible for shaping those layers of time according to my goals and truths.
There are the individual days with their collections of minutes and hours that must be seen clearly and crafted consciously. And then, we have the greater arc of years that make up a lifetime. These broad swaths of time are anchored by birthdays and anniversaries, solstices and equinoxes. You can find order in this structure, even if the spaces between are marked by unpredictable events and terribly predictable messes.
Jeffrey’s Mind Rooms allow me to hold both aspects of time. These well-defined mental zones give me the space to see the day-to-day details. Tending to the daily tasks in this way allows me to build a container for the big dreams that help a life’s work take shape.
I enter into relationship with time so that I can see the relationships between my ideas and the work I want to manifest.
The Mind Rooms method makes thought and time tangible – every bit as tangible as the bills on the table, the crumbs on the counter, and the toys on the floor. The projects that only exist in my “someday” thinking can become real enough to get my sustained, “let’s do, not just dream” attention. In the midst of the chaos that I’ll never fully escape (I admit it – I do thrive on at least a little bit of noisy madness), a few tidy rooms I can count on are sanctuaries worth more than gold.
MARISA GOUDY is a copywriter and storytelling coach for therapists and healers. She’s the co-host of the recently launched Practice of Being Seen podcast, a platform for soulful explorations of what really matters to seekers, creators, and holders of transformation. Learn more about how stories shape relationships and relationships shape stories at www.PracticeOfBeingSeen.com.
Marisa! Wise words, artfully woven as always. Worth the time I ‘spent’ to read them, and a compelling reminder to revisit the MRG that’s been languishing in a pile where it can’t possibly serve me.
Oh, Sharon, thanks for reading! I’m finally beginning to trust that the universe gives us exactly the signs we’re meant to heed at the moment we’re meant to see them. Here’s to happy, productive MR’ing for us both (for us all!).