Where did the time go?

How many times have you asked yourself that question?  There are many events in life that can spark reflection about how quickly time goes by.  Children grow up.  Milestone birthdays with elaborate celebrations come and go.   We lose someone we love too soon.  We look in the mirror and see an extra wrinkle, dark circles or gray hair.  These past two weeks, I’ve been reminded of how valuable our time is and how quickly time goes by.  My reminder was the loss of a friend.

Yesterday we celebrated the life of Steve “Grimey” Grimes.  I got to be a part of his funeral service and was further blessed by listening to his many family and friends talk about their fun time with Grimey over his full 38 year life.  Today, when I reflect on the past two weeks, I have a better appreciation of time.  We measure time in seconds, hours, days, weeks, months and years.  When I think about these measurements now, I’ve decided to change my mind about how I view time.  When looking at Steve’s life, quantity does not define it.  He lived a full life.  Everyday.  As his uncle said yesterday, he was a passionate man.  His passion for life was pretty unparalleled actually.  Many questioned it at times – myself included – because he didn’t always passionately pursue the things others thought he should pursue at the time others thought he should pursue it.  He did things on Grimey time.   When I think about that now, I actually think he was pretty inspirational.  His life path had a LOT of forks in the road.  He was on the path of an elite baseball pitcher when a rare form of Leukemia interrupted his life.  And the forks in the road that came as a consequence of the treatment for Leukemia – those twists and turns are unimaginable for most people at any point in life – but especially a 19 year old. Even with all the challenges, this guy had a laugh and a smile for anyone at pretty much anytime.  He could talk to anyone.  He could be both awkward and genuine.  And the guy followed his own path to the fullest.  Do I wish we all would have had MANY more years with him?  Absolutely. However, I think his life was pretty darn full.  I can’t imagine Steve every having wondered “Where did the time go?”

Maybe there are lessons we can take from Grimey.  For one, none of us are every promised tomorrow.  So when we find ourselves making a mental or physical list of things to do, shouldn’t we have the mindset of doing the things we are passionate about today.  Secondly, we really spend a lot of time worrying about the small stuff (that feels like HUGE stuff at the time).  What does any of that worrying ever get us?  Instead, when there is a task ahead of us, why not spend that “worry energy” jumping into our plan of attack. Lastly, Steve found fun in everything.  If only we could get our mental attitude in that mindset, wouldn’t even our most boring tasks become a little more enjoyable?  Wouldn’t we find ways to align our lives in ways that we were passionate about? Wouldn’t we smile and laugh and develop that contagious positive energy that fuels a great life that doesn’t need the constraints imposed by the concept of time?

Next time you find yourself asking “Where did the time go?”, what will your answer be?  I want my answer to be this…I spend my time loving, laughing and living in this moment.  And all these little moments add up to a really great life – a life that no concept of time can ever measure.

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The thumb has no report

I am reminded of the phrase “the thumb has no report” today when thinking about the complexity of the mind/body relationship.  I have a friend who is a highly trained orthopedic surgeon.  She and I would discuss at length the mind/body relationship because we both understand deeply that there cannot be a separation of parts when dealing with any human condition or injury.  One day while doing our own internal body surveys, she says outloud, “the thumb has no report.”  We burst into laughter for several minutes before continuing to check in with our bodies for any signs of tension or distress.  Looking back at this funny little interaction, I am reminded that while, in the moment, there was nothing particularly interesting about that part of the body, the thumb actually had a useful role in that body scan.  We both had busy and sometimes stressful jobs and we NEEDED the laugh.  Now as I teach my patients how to better listen to their bodies, I am reminded that even in silence we learn something about ourselves.  Maybe next time you sit still and listen to what your body needs you will get a loud PAY ATTENTION TO ME signal.  Maybe you will get silence or the urge to giggle or a thought will randomly pop into your head when scanning some random area of your body for information.  If it’s a thought, write it down.  If it’s a giggle, let it out.  If it’s silence, breathe and sit in it.  Just the 2-3 minute routine of paying attention to your body and mind can bring about insights you never imagined and have the GREAT benefit of addressing symptoms of problems before louder symptoms occur.  So get going…start your scan…what does you thumb have to report today?