Take Back Your Time

The Head of Nimue, by Edward Burne-Jones

“In terms of taking back our time, the first essential tool is saying no. No to our own greed and self-importance. No to the extra work we carry home. No to hearing without listening, looking without seeing; no, above all, to the insistent voice of advertising, which thrives on our restlessness and dissatisfaction, and does everything it can to exacerbate them. A Brobdingnagian NO to all those things makes space for an even more gigantic YES.

My private code for this is to refuse and choose.

We . . . can refuse to participate in the ‘mad race of time.’ We can choose to talk face to face with our friends instead of via email or on the telephone; we can play with our children, now, this very afternoon; we can go off for long walks across the hills. We can turn off the television once and for all. In short, we can rejoice in being one of the elite who actually does have the privilege of choice instead of complaining endlessly about our lack of time.

The Red Studio, by Henri Matisse

Of course it can feel difficult to drop out of the rat race: to stand at the side of the road while our friends and colleagues race on across the horizon. But that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. In Matisse’s painting, “The Red Studio,” the clock has no hands. We need to find a ‘red studio’ of our own, the studio of our own insistent heart, perhaps, in which to set up an easel or a writing desk, or pull a dreaming daybed towards a broad, wide-open window. It sounds so simple — almost too simple to be worth saying — but slowing down can be a tremendous source of joy.” (Excerpted from World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down, by Christian McEwan, pp.30-31)

What would you do if you had more time? Find one thing, and then find the time and make it happen.

11 thoughts on “Take Back Your Time

  1. Great stuff, Angela. After reading i was thinking that every happy or full moment we enjoy, instead of being expensive–as in too much, as in we cannot afford–is priceless. Happy moments have a completeness to them, so something happens–not to time– but to our clocks and schedules. We lose track of the very hands missing from that Red Studio clock. Instead we occupy what they only attempt to measure. I wish you some of that look!-no hands!-time at the “end’ of today 🙂

    • So true….those moments are priceless. My weekend in Morro was like that, just exactly. I will keep your “look! no hands!” expression in mind from now on — that’s a perfect way to describe what needs to be a less elusive experience in my life, and not just on weekends, right? Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing a little something special. 🙂

  2. I agree whole-heartedly with this quote, Angela.

    This really struck me: “In short, we can rejoice in being one of the elite who actually does have the privilege of choice instead of complaining endlessly about our lack of time.”

    Complaining about not having enough time happens so much. It’s like the default answer to “Why don’t you [insert activity, such as read, write, play an instrument, etc.]?” is “I don’t have enough time.”

    The problem is people think that everything weighs the same, everything on their list of priorities is on the same level, and then they attempt to do it all…

    I don’t do everything… There’s much that I’ve chosen not to do … but that’s all right because I do what I love to do. I’ve given up on squandering precious time on the stuff I “like” to do and only spend my free time doing what I love.

    If I had more time, I’d do what I’m already doing… but doing more of it . 🙂

    • Well said, all. And I agree with you. Unfortunately, this is something I’m still struggling with on many levels. It seems I am doing what I “have” to do and the majority of my time goes to that. Perhaps that is as it should be. But that “have to do” list just gets longer and the “want to do” list goes off and hides in a corner, neglected. Everything cannot be weighed equally, but it seems essential to make time for those “want to do’s”, especially when they feed the soul. This isn’t a selfish pursuit, but life-giving. So much of what we do, the ways in which we spend time, is simply life-draining. It demands constant vigilance and reflection and the active pursuit of choice, especially when one is surrounded by people and things which find no meaning in the slow, “want to do” desires of the heart.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and lingering to leave such a thoughtful, inspiring comment. Hugs and love to you. 🙂

  3. Pingback: The Sacrament of the Present Moment | one tiny violet

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