It seems that people constantly speak of how fast the world is today, of how hurried they feel or make comments like “wow, can you believe the year is almost half over, already”! We talk constantly about our fast-paced world and many people feel overwhelmed by the demands of life in 2013. We all know that we should be taking time out to relax, to re-group, to re-new. But, there is no time!
Life races on.
Suddenly it is mid-year, the end of the year, ten years later, and that’s when we really feel confused about where did all that time go to.
In times past there was far more awareness about marking the important times of our lives. Families and communities lived a slower, more measured life and were able to recognize and acknowledge the passing of time more easily. They would gather for birthdays, religious celebrations, housewarmings, engagements and marriages. In many indigenous societies they would also mark the passing of the seasons and the lunar calendar. But today many of these occasions for celebration have disappeared, while other celebrations are done in a way that may not hold the same meaning or have a significant effect on the person. We have all stopped pausing to take stock of our life.
Making the effort to stop and mark points in our life forces us to take the time to look at where we have been and how far we have come since the last time we examined our life.
When clients I am working with are feeling despondent about their health I often read back some of their history notes taken months or years earlier, during their consultation, as it allows them the opportunity to actually recall how bad their health was in the past and how much better they are now. Frequently as they improved they stopped remembering how they had felt or how incapacitated they were when they first came to see me. When I remind them they are able to then appreciate their vast improvement and to go on with a renewed positive outlook.
I don’t see this as simply a time issue however. All too many of us are our own harshest critics. We set standards and expectations for ourselves at impossible levels, we fail to recognize our achievements, let alone acknowledge them.
If we stop and assess where we are in life, what we now do differently, what we have learnt, how we view the world around us, or engage with the people we encounter differently, we then have marking points that we can use to compare and notice changes within ourselves. It allows us to realize that although we feel that we are simply racing through our life we are in fact changing and growing also. When we take this time it affords us a chance to recognize ourselves as the wonderful person we are and perhaps to judge our faults less harshly.
We have just celebrated a 21st birthday in our family and I insisted (of course) that we hold a party for close friends and family. My son was very reluctant and in fact resistant. But partway through the night he told me how glad he was that I had forced him have the event. I have watched with joy as through the week since the party his reflections have allowed a wonderful self-appreciation to blossom, and he is bubbling with plans for the next few months. I am sure that without marking this significant occasion he would have drifted on through the year, and perhaps his life, without this exuberance about himself and the possibilities that life offers him.
Our lives go on now 24/7. Everything seems to be available all hours of the day or night. Stores don’t close up for the weekend any more; movies run non-stop; we can find what we want at any hour, day or night. The world is on permanent ‘GO’. Nobody seems to be making the space to ask ‘where have I come from, and where might I go from here’.
The lyrics of the opening verse of ‘Tapestry’ by Carole King have always resonated for me, and whenever I hear them I cannot help but pause and reflect on my own life tapestry.
My life has been a tapestry
Of rich and royal hue;
An everlasting vision
Of the ever-changing view;
A wond’rous woven magic
In bits of blue and gold;
A tapestry to feel and see;
Impossible to hold.
Instead of racing on with your life, never noticing or appreciating much of the intricate and beautiful pattern of the life-quilt you are weaving, take some time out for reflection.
Try to make a regular time each week to ‘take stock’ of what you have done, what you achieved, what you learnt, how you could change things. Perhaps even start a journal in which to record your thoughts. Then do the same monthly, then every year on your birthday. Find something you love to do, maybe a meal with friends, a facial or massage, walk a labyrinth, maybe see a show – whatever you love, just something you enjoy – and mark the important occasions in your life as an acknowledgement of your worth and of the contribution that you are making to those around you and the earth as a whole.
Take some time out to reflect on the rich and royal tapestry of your life.
Do you already have some practice that helps you to reflect and take stock? Leave a reply below and tell me what you do, or what you plan to do, to make ‘acknowledgement’ space in your life.
All information and opinions presented here are for information only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before trying any of the treatment suggested on this site.