Tick tock tick tock: time = tension

As I cast my eyes back over the many years of my life, it is now so very clear that one of the biggest triggers of tension in my life has been time and my relationship with it. I can now see that something which man has created has been and is the cause behind a large proportion of the on-going tension many of us live with. In fact, there would be few of us living in the world whose lives are not governed in some way by time and having the tick-tock of the clock counting off the seconds, minutes and hours as we make our way through our day.

So is it possible that it is our relationship with this constant ticking that is forever building the tension we live with from the time we wake up – with or without an alarm clock – until we very sleepily acknowledge that it is time for bed? And as we tuck ourselves in, are we still accompanied by any time-fuelled tension we have acquired during our day that may affect the quality of our sleep?

And then we wake up to do it all again – tick-tock, tick-tock!

So, let’s take an honest look at how time – and the keeping of it – impacts us every day, and how the tension can begin to build.

There’s the alarm that wakes us so we can get to work – on time; get the kids to school – on time; leave for an appointment – on time; as a few examples. So, what happens in our body when we are so tired we sleep through our alarm and wake up late; when the kids don’t want to wake up and then are slow to do anything; and maybe we realise that our appointment time is actually earlier than we thought? I don’t know about you, but I instantly start to look at the clock, willing the time to go slow, and when it doesn’t, I speed up my movements, going into a drive to get everything done. And what usually happens at this time? I will drop something, spill my drink, end up with mascara on my face and not my eyelashes – you may be familiar with the picture.

As the minutes tick on by, my glances at the clock ramp up until it seems that is all I am doing, all the while a knot of tension is growing in my body, usually in the area of my solar plexus, stirring up any breakfast I may have had the time to gulp down, and affecting the quality and depth of every in-breath and out-breath.

I used to live like this most of the time

I used to live like this most of the time, especially as a single mother and then later and running in parallel, as a real estate salesperson. The echo of the clock seemed to be my constant companion, and not a very affable one at that. But I can see now – isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing? – it was the way I was running my life, figuratively and literally, that was the root cause of the time issue, but I didn’t realise it, so immersed in it I was.

This was such a vicious and debilitating cycle, one that I lived – existed – with for such a huge period of my life. I can see now how this pattern was constantly playing out in the background, fuelling the anxiety that I lived with, which at a couple of stages led to full-blown panic attacks. I felt like one of those mice in a cage, on a treadmill, wanting to get somewhere but in fact, simply going around and around with no idea how to get off, although I was constantly searching for a way to do so.

A way to get off the treadmill of time

In 2005 I finally met someone who offered me the way to turn off the treadmill, to open the door of the cage and to, at long last, make sense of my life and the way I was living. Here was an amazing, but very humble man who, from the first presentation I attended, offered me answers to the whole bucket load of questions in me that had sat unanswered for 55 years. This man was Serge Benhayon, founder of Universal Medicine. Serge’s presentations offered me so much more than I ever thought was possible and touched on so many areas of my life that I had been struggling with, but what I loved the most was that he had no expectations as to what I did with what he offered; that was up to me, but if I said yes and chose to make changes in my life, he was there in an instant with the deepest most loving support imaginable.

One of the biggest ‘aha’ moments for me came when he presented that the way we are living now is a result of every choice we have ever made; that the state of our present life is our responsibility, no one else’s. And therefore, if my choices had created my life, by changing my choices, I could change my life, starting immediately with my next choice! Armed with this life changing common-sense I began to see life through very different and much wiser eyes.

Time and Space

Then in 2015 Serge published ‘Time’, the first book in a trilogy called ‘Time, Space and all of us’. This book turned my understanding of time on its head. How could I ever think that I was running out of time, when each 24-hour cycle – our day – contained exactly the same amount of time, and as for time going fast or slow, that is definitely another total illusion!

And while I was processing the lies we have been fed about time, along came the next book in the series, called ‘Space’. Now this one took a lot longer for me to digest, but it was finally my own lived experience of how, if I connect to myself, and breathe my own beautiful breath, I have instant access to the stillness that is a natural part of me; it’s like I simply and easily ‘fall’ into it. And I have discovered that from this stillness comes the feeling of space, a space I have come to sense is universal. For me, this feeling is so exquisite and seemingly endless – just like the Universe – and within it, there is no place for time as I know it, and therefore no breeding ground for tension. Saying that this discovery was one of the biggest, most life-changing lessons of my life so far, is probably an understatement.

Taking time to stop

From my growing understanding of how I was living my life, it slowly became obvious that I had been living in so much motion from being convinced that I was always running out of time, that I had not been allowing myself enough stop moments in my life; stop moments which offered me the opportunity to connect to myself and to take stock of how I was feeling. It was a big ‘ouch’ moment when I also realised that by not allowing enough space for whatever was being called for next, I created the illusion that I was running out of time, and that in turn created the tension in my body, and naturally the less space I allowed, the more tension and the louder the tick-tock! Whoa!

So, what did I do to start to build a new relationship with time?

My first step was a very practical one, and that was to commit to getting up a little earlier, which, after a few false starts, made a huge difference. The other was to clock – pardon the pun – when the tension began to build. It soon became obvious that as a result of the tension creeping into my body my movements would begin to change, becoming faster, rather jerky, often heavy and harsh and with the change in my movements my connection to my common-sense would start to disintegrate.

And it was in the observation of my movements that I started to learn the most. I started to see that if I allowed the tension to build, I was actually contracting my whole body and so how I moved would then begin to change, as if I was marching to the tick-tock and instead, not allowing my life to flow. But in stark contrast, when I said ‘no’ to the building tension and allowed my movements to flow in their naturally designed way, that exquisite space was instantly with me, and I soon discovered that it moved with me.

And the most wonderful result of this was that I began to feel the beauty of the stillness and the space that was always on offer. It was there in every moment with every gentle breath, and the more still I became and the more gentle my breath, the more space opened up. In the beginning I thought I was imagining it, but with committing to this new way of being, over and over again, I came to see that this space was always waiting to support me, to hold me, while the tension was only ever there to take me over.

While saying no to the tension and yes to the space makes so much sense, it is still a work in progress which comes with the knowing that there is no perfection in a human body. I am still learning so much about what time and space truly are, and I can feel there is so much more to learn. There are still moments in my day when the time-fuelled tension begins to sneak in, and the echo of the tick-tock returns. But, when it does, it is usually very obvious quite quickly.

I can feel the quality of my movements change, my breath becomes shorter and there is an accompanying buzz from the building tension in my body. These days, that feels horrible, and to think that this is how I lived for so long is absolutely staggering. But at the same time it is so revealing and very appreciated, as in those moments I get to see how far I have come from the tension-filled woman who, continually marching to the beat of the tick-tock, always thought she was running out of time!

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AnxietyStressTensionTimeTime management

  • By Ingrid Ward, Community Support Person

    I am a forever student of life, people, nature and the Universe. As an elder I have a huge responsibility to share my lived experiences with others so they may understand life a little more; that responsibility is a true joy.

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    Michelle is a talented professional photographer working mainly in natural light. Her work is fresh and contemporary and focuses on capturing energetic quality as it unfolds and reflecting the depth and true beauty of her subject in a still Photograph.