I’ll Have to Make Time

I suppose you’re wondering why I’ve been saying that my wife has got me this or that item, like the pink dumbbells and whatnot. She also got me an extra yoga mat.

Part of the explanation is that I’ve recently had a birthday, which reminds me of the importance of time in my life–mainly because I have a shrinking supply of it. After all, I’m heading into the sunset of my journey on Earth.

Sunset

Occasionally, I wonder what I ought to be trying to accomplish, if anything.

To achieve great things, two things are needed:

A plan and not quite enough time.

Leonard Bernstein

Bernstein’s quote is encouraging in a way. Hey, I’ve already got half of it–I don’t have enough time. Now all I have to do is achieve some great things.

I could go on the road to promote my idea for a hit song, “Put your hand in the hand of the man with a plan to get a tan, lead a band, roam the land, avoid the bladder scan, zippity do dah shazam.”

All I have to do is come up with lyrics…and a melody…and an agent…and a band…and a voice coach…and some talent.

Now, if I’m going to accomplish something great, it would make sense to keep working on building a more harmonious balance in my everyday life. I’m doing some of that, including regular exercise, mindfulness practice, and healthy eating.

That reminds me, the birthday cake was excellent, especially topped with white chocolate vanilla ice cream.

Every so often, my former mindfulness teacher sends out an email message about the upcoming mindfulness classes. She always includes an inspirational quote, like the one below:

Be a person here. Stand by the river, invoke
the owls. Invoke winter, then spring.
Let any season that wants to come here make its own
call. After that sound goes away, wait.

A slow bubble rises through the earth
and begins to include sky, stars, all space,
Even the outracing, expanding thought.
Come back and hear the little sound again.

Suddenly this dream you are having matches
everyone’s dream, and the result is the world.
If a different call came there wouldn’t be any
world, or you, or the river, or the owls calling.

How you stand here is important. How you
listen for the next things to happen. How you breathe.

William Stafford – “Being a Person”

There was also a couple of suggestions for yoga and meditation techniques specifically to help you sleep. I recognized one of them as the body scan. The body scan is one of the first things they teach you in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).

The body scan invariably put me to sleep, which made me feel like I wasn’t doing it right. Early on in the course, that was not exactly the “goal” of the body scan. Except mindfulness is not exactly a goal-oriented activity.

That’s hard to conceptualize. And so, the other class that is offered to those who make mindfulness practice a regular part of their lives are follow-up groups. It helps reaffirm the regular commitment to practice mindfulness.

I noticed one of the follow-up groups is entitled “Embracing the Paradoxes of Mindfulness.” The description of the course makes the point that mindfulness really isn’t about reaching a goal or achieving great things. It’s about being rather than doing. It’s hard for me to get my head around that after getting into and through medical school, residency, and practicing psychiatry for umpteen years. And now I’m making a transition to retirement.

One of my biggest fears about making and sticking to a mindfulness practice was that I often didn’t think I would have enough time for it. My teacher just advised me that I would simply have to make time.

Maybe I could accept the time I do have left and just be the geezer I am.

OK, OK, it’s not about relaxing…

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