By Pam Kristan, Sharing the Fire Workshop Presenter
There’s an old story about time and what to do with it that’s been around for millennia. For most of Western history it certainly seemed to work. Now, however, it no longer works very well. This old story is intricately bound up with our outward forms of commerce, sociopolitical life, health, education, and with our internal lives of thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and values. It’s a story of separation, competition, and scarcity.
Under the old story we’re running faster, doing more, working harder. After all, we have to keep up, right? And there’s only so much time, right? And if we don’t do it, someone else might beat us to it, right? We work harder, faster, and longer, but it doesn’t seem to make much difference. Despite all the money, technology, programs, research and effort we apply, the economy still is tanking; injustice still needs addressing; the schedule is still chock-a-block.
When I first started working in time management, nigh unto thirty years ago, efficiency and productivity seemed to be what it was all about; even today, most people think that’s what it’s all about. Yet, things are different now. We all know, at least on a subliminal level, that it’s impossible to do everything. Impossible. Period. Continuing to do what we’ve always done won’t cut it. Yet we keep trying.
In the midst of this situation a new story is arising — one of cooperation, connection, and plenty. It has a different perspective, a different way of operating. Rather than concentrating on how much we produce or how much effort we expend, it takes a broader stance. This new story acknowledges benefits that ripple out in space and time. It depends on reflection and leverage, on being as much as doing.
Yet much of the world operates under the old story, often with great insistence! In this transitional time with both stories operating, we’re wise to be fluent in both modes. Yes, we need to be efficient, and we can leverage the energy we expend. Yes, we need to be productive, and what we create can be for the benefit of ourselves and the wider world, now and into the future.
So, we become clear on which story we want to align with. Remember the Native legend of the two wolves inside us? There’s the old wolf of scarcity, competition and separation and the new wolf of plenty, cooperation and connection. Which wolf prevails depends, of course, on which wolf we feed.
To feed the new wolf, we practice ways that arise from intuition, reflection, connection, and leverage. At the same time, we pull back from old ways that lead to burnout, scarcity, and disconnection. We dissolve patterns that no longer serve — being overwhelmed, guilt from not doing enough, despair from feeling powerless to change — while we strengthen new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.
What it takes is practice, lots of practice … in community with others. The new story is yet to be fully written. Stepping into the unknown is scary. Together we can take that step.
This is exactly what we’ll do at Sharing the Fire in March. If you can’t wait, come to Managing Mindfully, January 28, 10 to 4 (come as you can/pay as you’re able) in Jamaica Plain. https://www.facebook.com/events/1706779899633489/
Want to explore this interesting topic with Pam? Take her workshop, “Time Management,” (Saturday, March 25 from 1:30 – 3:00pm) at Sharing the Fire 2017. Visit the STF Conference Details page to register for the conference.
Want to share your own ideas about time management? Leave a comment.
Pam Kristan, author of Awakening In Time, has helped thousands improve their lives through workshops and consultations. As a recognized expert, she moderated speak-outs for National Take Back Your Time Day. She was a regular, and often a feature, at Brother Blue’s Tuesday storytelling for over 20 years. www.pamelakristan.com