Something new, and weird, and kind of awesome happened to me in the middle of the night last night. I had been sleeping for about an hour and a half when I found myself half awake and then fully awake when, coincidentally, my gentleman friend came to bed… and I really surprised him by exclaiming “Merde!”
No worries, I promptly explained what it was about: huge parts of a blog post had just appeared in my mind, as if my brain had suddenly downloaded the thing, and I didn’t feel like getting up to go and write it. But I didn’t want to lose it either, and I was sure that it would happen if I didn’t write it down. This is when he showed me once again, as if that was in any way necessary, how wonderful he is: he got up, turned on the light, grabbed his clipboard and a pen for me, and a book for him. Sweet!
I scribbled furiously, not wanting to keep him up any longer than was reasonable, trying to capture as much as I could of the content of that file that had been downloaded to my mind. But you know how those things go: crystal clear in your mind, clear as mud when you try to get them out of it. Oh well, I thought, I’ll dedicate my Shiva Nata practice tomorrow morning to remembering what it said and learning more about it… Anyways, once I was done we turned off the light, I put my head back on the pillow, thinking that now that this was out of my mind I’d be able to go back to sleep, no problem.
Yeah, right! Apparently, the giant server that is my subconscious wasn’t quite done, and my brain went at it again, this time not downloading new ideas, but literally writing the first few sentences of the post. I stubbornly decided I wasn’t going to play that game again, and was finally able to go back to sleep. The price you and I have to pay for this, though, is that those brilliant first sentences are probably lost forever. Oh well, you’ll have to do with this story, instead! :)
Now that you have the story, I guess it’s time that I’d try writing the post… because it apparently won’t be writing itself – no matter that it already did it in my mind in the middle of the night! Considering the backstory on this, you’ll have to excuse me if what follows ends up not making much sense, or not being as insightful as it seemed to be at the time. I’m publishing it anyways because, considering the circumstances, there’s no way I can *not* publish it! Hey, I want to keep whatever/whoever sends almost complete blog posts to my mind happy so that it keeps doing this! (maybe just not at 2 in the morning…)
On to the post, now!
I have mentioned last week that I was playing with the Sailboat Kit – a time management tool “for people who hate structure but love metaphors” (that’s *so* me!), the sailboat being the metaphor Eileen, creator of the kit, has come up with for her weekly schedule. And, well, I still haven’t built mine. I’m thinking about my sailboat, sure, how I want to build it, what I want it to look like, how it will help me, etc. I’m thinking about it a lot. Just not doing it.
Oh, that’s not exactly true. I have moved forward a little: I have done the first step of the process. It’s not that the process is hard, scary, confusing, or anything like that, no! The kit is pretty awesome, actually, and most certainly the only time management thingy I could ever see myself using. The thing is that as I move forward, some resistance is surfacing. Ah, dear old resistance! It’s not full-blown, crazy big resistance, no – but still enough to slow the process down quite a bit.
Also, my particular relationship with time doesn’t make it easy for me to envision being able to build a functional sailboat.
48-hour days, anyone?
You see, I’m naturally slow. Everything I do takes me much longer than it takes anyone else and, most importantly, much longer than I’d like. Which means that I can’t accomplish a lot in a day, a week, a month. I often find that to be saddening and frustrating, but that’s how it is. I can’t push myself to go faster (not without having to spend a while in recovery mode afterwards, anyways), and I can’t really cram more into my days either, nor do I want to. As my friend Fabeku very eloquently puts it: “Eff cramming!” Being able to accomplish more would be nice, but cramming more stuff into my days? Hm, no thanks.
On a personal level, this means that I’m not moving forward at a satisfying pace. Beyond that, I often find myself not to be in phase with the world. Both are hard. But a few months ago, I’ve had an insight that made me understand these things better: I’ve realised that what I’d need are 48-hour days with a 9-hour nap in the middle! If in any given day I accomplish about half as much as I’d like, somehow it helps to think that it was just a half-day. Unfortunately, I’m the only one thinking that and it doesn’t slow down the turning of the calendar pages… but it is still helpful to be able to consider that my daily cycle is simply different than every one else’s, instead of thinking that I’m broken in some way.
Now, the sailboat I’ll build will probably be the best tool ever for me, because I can build it in accordance with my own quirky circadian cycle. Which is a big awesome yay! Still, I worry that my 3-days-and-a-half weeks won’t be able to hold all that I would like them to hold, so that’s also one reason why I’ve been delaying the building of my sailboat: I don’t want to see it confirmed that I’m unable to fit much into my weekly schedule, and that I’m screwed and won’t get anywhere ever – ok, it’s really not that bad, but you know how it can be sometimes when the monsters start yelling horrible stuff…
Actually, the sailboat thing makes me more hopeful than I’ve been in a while regarding the way I can use my time. It gives me hope that I can find ways to use it both mindfully and productively, which feels really good.
Time = space?
This idea feels like it’s only half-baked, but I’m putting it out here because it was part of what popped into my mind last night, and it would be interesting to explore it further.
This equation isn’t common, or even really intuitive. What prompted it, I think, is the physicality of the time management tool I’m playing with here and now: the weekly schedule is filled with little boxes that we can take and move around, and that probably got my mind to equate time and space.
As I was thinking about it, I realised that the metaphor holds true in that regards too: the space in the weekly schedule is limited, just like it is on a real sailboat! Ooooh, neat! I can totally picture it, because my ex-gentleman friend has spent five months sailing on a tall ship several years ago, and I know that space was extremely limited on board and he could only take stuff that was really important for him to have. Oh, that will help when I’ll be building my sailboat, filling its space and trying to
decide what I take and what I leave! Remembering that I don’t want to make my boat sink, and that I want to be able to comfortably maneuver it without feeling cramped will be helpful.
Then I got to thinking that equating time and space feels somehow related to the fact that what I choose to spend my time on occupies space in my life, in my schedule, and in my mind. Now, is that space related to how important these things are to me? That will be a useful question to keep in mind as I fill the space that’s available in my sailboat.
That idea also reminded me that a little while ago, I was acutely feeling like I needed more mental space. My mind was horribly foggy, but through that fog it was clear that having time for myself and for the things that were important to me would help me find the breathing room I needed to free up some mental space. So, interestingly, the time and space connection was already there.
Getting closer to setting sail
My sailboat may not be as far as I’d have liked it to be by now, but all those insights I’ve had while just thinking about it have already brought me much farther than I was before – and it gave me ideas that I want to explore further. If those were the only things I’d have gained through playing with that brilliant sailboat kit, it would have been more than worth it. And yet, the best is still to come!