You have all the time in the world – seriously – and I’m going to show you how to find it.
Earlier this year in the spring, I worked on a collaborative project that involved Deepak Chopra, the doctor/author/healer/philsopher. I had to review one of his books and write seven 40-minute scripts for him to use in some video workshops the company was going to produce. Oh, did I mention I had to write seven 40-minute scripts in a week and a half? To say I was stressed is an understatement. At one point I even laughed at the irony of writing all these words about spirituality and meditation while the ponderous Sword of Damacles swung back and forth over my head. But then I read something that changed everything.
Deepak suggested that in order to be unaffected by time, we live our lives like our cells do. Our cells are constantly being born and constantly dying; some only live a few hours, some a few days. But they all have a job to do and they’re given the exact amount of time they need to accomplish their work. If you were able to look inside your body (and those of you who have tried LSD probably have), you wouldn’t see a bunch of cells running around like lunatics, bumping into each other over their panic to heal a paper cut. They go about their work knowing they have all the time in the world, even if their world only lasts 24 hours.
For whatever reason, this really made sense to me. (My cells were probably concurring and I could feel all 50 trillion of them nodding in agreement). So every time I felt the anxiety of the deadline, I would stop and say out loud, “I have all the time in the world.” It didn’t change the deadline, but it took away the stress. I trusted that my work ethic would prevail, that I would produce those seven scripts, on time, no matter what it took, because a week and half was what I had to work with. Period.
I made the deadline – early, actually – but more exciting than that was learning the strategy for timeless thinking. Living like your cells do doesn’t mean you squander time, or blow off appointments, miss deadlines or procrastinate. It means that when you are engaged in your work – whether that is writing a script or meeting with a patient – you are completely present, calm, and you focus on the task at hand instead of on the ticking clock.
It works so well I use it in traffic, too, when I’m running late. “You have all the time in the world,” I say out loud. The middle finger relaxes, the heart beat settles, and I stop shooting tornadoes out of my eyeballs at the driver in front of me who insists on going 5 miles under the limit. It’s even helped me be more patient when people are taking a loooooong time getting to the point of their story. In fact, it works in just about every situation where I feel the unpleasant constraints of time.
Next time you think there just aren’t enough hours in the day, think about your cells, and how right this minute they are making your hair grow, digesting your food, and standing ready to attack intruders. Think about it: running your body is a big undertaking. Your cells have a lot to do, every minute, 24/7, but they’re not panicking. And neither should you, because yes, you have all the time in the world to do what you need to do.