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Copyright by Kathleen Hawkins
A confession: as we approach the New Year, I’ve had zero patience
- The book I’ve been rewriting, still not finished
room I’m painting, needing another coat of paint, and artwork to be hung
- Ideal weight, still not reached; in fact, it’s going in the wrong
- Watch misplaced five days ago, still not found.
- Email and
Internet access down
I had all December off from traveling and teaching to finish what I
wanted to do, and I felt positive about getting everything done, but
then my editor took a break from working on my manuscript so I waited
for him to finish. And the computer guy I scheduled to get me online
again took his time (a week!) getting
here to diagnose the problem, and then another two days to get me online
again, so I waited and waited for him, all the while getting
angrier and angrier (people count the faults of those who keep them
waiting). Students and clients were expecting emails from me. I didn’t
mail holiday cards or presents. The season slipped through my
fingers—or, more accurately, slipped through my brain.
And every time I tried to look at my watch to see how far behind I
was, it wasn’t on my wrist (see item #4 above). I looked for it in all
my pockets, on my desk, under the bathmats, beside the bed, and on the
counters and sinks. No watch.
I wanted desperately to stay centered and put a philosophical spin on everything. I feel so
good and happy and healthy when I’m wise. Instead, I felt furious and
Sometimes I’m wiser than I act.
Wrong time to cut back on coffee. Blood pressure at last reading:
Last night, a dream: I found a canary trapped inside the house (maybe
inspired by the disturbing fact that birds sometimes get into the
Wal-Mart Supercenter through the open door of the garden department and
fly throughout the store until …. Until what? They die? They find their
way out again?). Anyway, in my dream, the small bird was exhausted. I
took it in my hands, carried it outside, and tossed it gently into the
air. It flew a short ways and then dropped to the ground. Was it okay?
Did it survive? I don’t know. I woke up.
I was too depressed to analyze my dream: did the bird symbolize my
spirit, my creativity, or simply trapped birds inside a store? I didn’t
want to think about it.
Good things did happen, though. I was treated to a night in a hotel
overlooking the runway at the DFW airport so I could watch planes taking
off, and be thrilled that I didn’t have to go anywhere. I also attended
three dinner parties, met new people, and enjoyed delicious food (see
item # 3 above). But behind it all, like a slow pulse, the worry: I’m
not getting it all done. I wanted to finish everything, to wind up all
the loose ends from the old year so I could feel great about heading
into the New Year. How could I start fresh from the beginning when I was
dragging all this incompletion behind me like something disagreeable I
In the middle of the night, relentless self-talk: everyone else seems
to be enjoying the season and getting things done; they sent holiday
cards and put up decorations and probably got bonuses at work (if I had
an insubordinate, disgruntled employee like myself this season, I’d
probably “downsize” her).
Just don’t ask me what time it is, I can’t find my watch! Item #4.
I’ve got it bad. I’m attached to completion and achievement. I’m
SUPPOSED to have “it” finished—“it” being everything that’s
unfinished—and THEN I can feel good. The second the New Year begins, I
can start fresh. I can be patient for only so long, and then it’s time
for “it” to be done, “it” SHOULD be done, “it” MUST be done!
Okay, settle down. Take a deep breath. Remember what you know.
Nothing in Life stands still. Even rocks have life cycles. Our bodies
and our thoughts are part of nature with beginnings and middles and
endings and more beginnings. And yet, I expected Life to respect, and
abide by, my artificial constructs of time. I expected Life to go, “Oh,
yeah, you’re right, a new year is starting, let me wave a magic wand and
presto, everything undone in the previous year is now completed and
you’re ready for a fresh start.”
There’s a natural order of things, an order we might not always
realize. It’s part of the Great Mystery.
I searched for a book that I have around here somewhere, The Power of
Now, and couldn’t find it. It’s with my watch, I suppose, so I looked up
the following quote from the book on the Internet: “Authentic human
power is found by surrendering to the Now … the present moment, where
problems do not exist. It is here we find our joy and are able to
embrace our true selves. It is here we discover that we are already
complete and perfect.”
Desire, attachments, and judgments pull me in all directions. And so
I step back from my mercurial moods, reminding myself to not mistake the
part—any one mood or feeling—for the whole of what I am, and I reconnect
with something deeper and more stable within myself. The world is not
the problem. The way I sometimes see it is the problem.
And so I come back to what I know. Things get done when they get
done. Wanting it otherwise is unrealistic and problematic. Maybe now—the
present moment—is what really matters.
So I released ever finding my watch, which had the words “Watch it”
printed on its face.
Maybe objects have their own destinies independent of our destinies.
As I shopped for a new watch, I was drawn to one unlike any others
I’ve had, which were one color: gold. This one has a silver and
white-gold bracelet band, a sea-green face outlined in black, a diamond
chip at 12 o’clock, and a word written in gold on it—the word “Now.”
Ask me what time it is.
“What time is it?”
You may reprint or forward this article to friends, colleagues, or
customers as long as you include the following credit: Copyright by Kathleen Hawkins, author of
Spirit Incorporated: How to
Follow Your Spiritual Path from 9 to 5.
Hawkins help you increase your personal and
professional effectiveness and look forward to coming to work every day
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- Spirit Incorporated: How to Follow Your Spiritual Path From 9 to
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a speed reading expert, vice president of the National Management Institute, and the author of
four books, Time Management Made Easy, Test Your Entrepreneurial
IQ, Reverse Speech: Hidden Messages in Human Communication,
and Spirit Incorporated: How to Follow Your Spiritual Path From 9 to
5. She wrote a column for five years for Success magazine and
wrote and produced the best-selling audio-cassette programs, Speed
Read to Win and How to Organize Yourself to Win. Her articles
and ideas on how to increase personal and professional effectiveness have
appeared in more than 200 national publications. In addition to being
a best-selling author, Kathleen is a professional speaker and a business
consultant. Thousands of people from all levels of business, science,
education, and industry have taken her courses.