It’s different isn’t it when all the structures that usually hold your days fall away!? It takes some resorting. It takes a lot of awkwardness. Sometimes it feels like bumping along at high speeds on a dirt road in the cab of an old truck. Only at some point you discover you are no longer at the driver’s wheel. Or were you ever really? These are the questions that I ask myself during times like these.
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Sometimes I feel extremely at home with the idea that I was never really in charge anyway. I see that the Divine was always ever the only the guide for the show. Though I have gone great stretches of forgetting that and thinking that I am in charge, I still feel really at home with knowing that in many ways I, like all other beings, am just a pawn in the great play. I fulfill my role. I do my part by listening to the instincts that arise within my soul, by following, adhering to, and acting on them.
The last time I went through a giant change (which was pre-Covid) the thing that helped me most at first was one word: surrender. I turned to it again and again within the discomfort, agony, and blind bumbling of that change. Somewhere along at the beginning of a very sudden shift for my family based on needs other than my own I realized that the thing that was causing me the most agony was not the shift itself—but the holding onto the old way of being. The thoughts I was having of how it should look, or what I was having to give up, or the wishing it was a different way were very painful to me. I realized it was those thoughts, more than the shift, that were really hampering me from gracefully turning in the direction required.
By the time COVID came along and schools shut down here I had already been surrendering for months! During that initial surrender and just after the internal recognition that I needed to surrender, a friend on Facebook recommended the book, “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael Singer. I ordered it from my library immediately! It’s a lovely and interesting book that served as mentor of sorts for me at a time when the biggest transitions were hugely internal and mostly my own. It was like having a friend, albeit in different circumstances, showing me it could be done. I still recommend this book from time to time for those who I see are in huge shifts largely out of their control and in shifts which are also helping them align more easily and perhaps permanently with their own divine plan (whether they see it or not). I think it is safe to say that we could all be in one of those periods right now. If it calls to you, here is a link to Michael’s book or better yet contact your local bookstore and see if they are delivering new orders (ours is.)
But maybe oddly enough, surrender isn’t really whatt I want to talk about today or at least not the main piece. I wanted to speak of a tool I use frequently that was initially inspired by Lenedra Carroll in her book “The Architecture of All Abundance.” Because of this story that she told (one she details in this online excerpt from her book) I’ve been asking myself this simple question so long that, that in the way of all good tools, it feels like my own. I’ve come to call it an Intuitive Time Management Tool. I use it again and again in my life. It’s useful for every day AND it’s uber useful for those times and moments where the previous structure/way of being has fallen away.
In fact my most memorable moments of using it to pull me out and through a huge shift were in the weeks after I became a mother. Becoming a mother for the first time is a PROFOUND shift. Like many big changes, you can’t really see it coming—or at least see accurately ahead of time the changes it is harboring within you and your world. (Sort of like Covid-19!) You can think you know—yes diapers and car seats—but those don’t even scratch the surface of the changes it creates. In fact, motherhood is a depth of change that not only takes years to unravel but as far as I can tell sets you on a specific and much different path that resolutely alters your very being until the day you die. As I say that I can hear my father, with his children now grown, saying something he is fond of telling me about parenthood, “It doesn’t end.” In any case, I was in those first fledgling changes of parenthood which require a complete and utter shift in almost everything you do during every 24 hour period when I turned yet again (but for the first time as a mother to this tool).
Then it felt like my challenge was time or what seemed to be not enough of it. This is perhaps different than the challenge we are currently facing which is abundance of time/lack of holding structure. Rest assured the tool works whatever the moment. Then, I remember standing on my back patio and thinking through all of the things that I felt I wanted and needed to get done while simultaneously feeling the pressingly small window of time I had before my son awoke from slumber and needed my whole being again. I felt myself weighted by the agony of what seemed like trying to fold a giant puzzle in order to fit perfectly into a tiny hole. Trying to even understand it—let alone find the perfect ways that I could fold this big list of tasks into the small moments now available to me baffled me/blew my circuits! Then suddenly, in that sunlit moment on my back patio a moment devoid of any cries save insects and birds I thought, It can’t be that I now no longer have time to do the things that I came here to do just because I am a mother. It cannot be this. It wasn’t a forceful “cannot be” it was a puzzling out and certain “cannot be.” It felt like a dawning understanding that I was looking at the puzzle all wrong. I was focusing on the what-had-been (or the old ways of operating under what now seemed like an abundance of time and energy!) and trying to figure out how to fit it all into the slots when I wasn’t even playing the same game anymore. Sure there was still laundry to fold and tomatoes to harvest and emails to write—but I was in a different land. I was in a different forest—a different world—but unequivocally my world nonetheless.
I didn’t know a step into motherhood would be like that. I didn’t know a child would emerge from my womb and though I returned home to the same house the terrain would be completely different/ totally unknown.
Well, at this moment in time in 2020, by now we all at least have gained that understanding. I don’t think there is a one of us who is fooled into thinking that though we may live in the same place, and even if we are fortunate to have the same job and interests, the game and terrain is the no longer the same. That’s one beauty of the time and place that we are all in now. Although we may have been initially— we are no longer blind sighted by the fact that the game and terrain has changed.
And so I offer you this tool—as a way to navigate your way into the place that is right for you and yours both now and beyond. It all comes down to a simple question.
That day, a warm summer day in August, standing on my back porch I turned away from the depressing and sinking weight of trying to understand how it would all happen or work, and I asked myself instead, “What time is it right now?” Not, “How is this going to work out?” Or even, “How am I going to accomplish this bigger task?” Just, “What time is it right now?” I got my answer and did it. I did this over and over and over again during those first few months of motherhood—sometimes the answer was “time to fold the laundry” sometimes it was “time to sit in the sun with a tall glass of iced tea” sometimes it was “time to finish that email” or cook dinner, or make a phone call, or brainstorm and lay out this project or that project. I started to find that MIRACULOUSLY I did have time to do the things I needed to accomplish. And, furthermore, that I didn’t have to figure out how to fold the puzzle into the hole/box at all. By focusing again and again on THIS MOMENT, the paper got folded and put into the slot in just the right ways over and over again.
It’s a practice I continue to do and teach others in my Intuition University: Ask, “What time is it now?” It’s what brought me to what you’ve read on your screen just now.
On this Sunday morning when I found myself sitting at my desk on the only work day I now have (aside from my regularly scheduled Intuition University classes which were always via conference call), with no clients until later in the day I discovered that my work time has likewise lost it’s regular structure. Work goals having slipped long ago underneath almond butter and apple snacks—walking silently out the door while my attention was focused on the short people who are always with me now and the home and land on which we dwell. On this day, today, sitting alone in my studio, I do/did what I have done for more than a decade.
Before moving forward, as a way to move forward, I sit down I ask myself, What time is it right now?
There is something else important you should know. Just like I discovered all those years ago fresh into the new and mind-boggling experience of parenthood, it simply cannot be that there is no place for you now. It cannot be that motherhood, or covid-19 or, or, or (whatever is in your blank) has left a world that no longer belongs to you or will no longer support your soul’s journey. This world is ours. It belongs to us and us to it. It CAN BE AND IS that the game/terrain has changed and that adaption, perhaps even total surrender is required. But look at you—you’ve done that thousands of times already in your lifetime. You’ve gone from fertilized egg in a womb, to waddling toddler to passionate teen to wherever you are now with countless stops in between. You can.
As a way of simplifying and amplifying your ease in getting there, wherever you are in your life right now, under whatever circumstances you are living and facing, I offer this small and powerful question to you: “What time is it right now?” I thank Lenendra for introducing it to me through her story, and I pass it on with mine.
I know it will lead you forward to the future that belongs to you and the present you are in now.