Has it felt like you’re playing catch-up lately?
When you work, have family to care for, bills to pay and friendships to maintain, it can feel like every minute of the day is accounted for. A colleague of mine once said he was so busy, he thought he might pass himself in the corridor on his way to another meeting. It’s like you need two you’s, just to keep up.
Recently I was lucky enough to spend the day with one of my favourite Buddhist monks, Gelong Thubten. Thubten is the monk who trained Benedict Cumberpatch to appear in Dr Strange and has written a wonderful book called The Monk’s Guide to Happiness.
During one of the conversations, he talked about his time in retreat, where he spent four years away from the outside world on the Isle of Arran. He received the occasional visitor (his teacher, Lama Zangmo) and a letter once a month. This meant he had very little knowledge of what was happening in the ‘outside world’. In that four years, the iPhone, Facebook and YouTube were all invented.
When Thubten came out of retreat, he was shocked at how much the world had sped up. He walked into a café (monks love tea as much as I do) and witnessed an altercation between two people who were fighting over who should be served first. You see, to these people, time was being stolen from them. It got me thinking about how much we try to rush things – whether our trip to work, or a process like forgiveness or grief – that just can’t be rushed.
There are things we can do though.
This week, set the intention to Give Yourself Time. See if your calendar gives you some breathing space, to catch your breath and if not add a slot here and there for you to reset or unwind. If you (or other people) are saying you ‘should’ be somewhere else in a feeling right now, remember that forgiveness – like grief – is a process not a task. Just like a course of antibiotics, you have to let the ‘medicine’ (activities like mindfulness, counselling or literal medication) work their magic. Remember that you are just as important as the people you care for, and have just as much right to pause when you need. You will get there.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis 2020