“Many of us are in a race against time. As a perfectionist, you are ahead of the pack with a yellow jersey on. In your fixation on meeting goals, you are speeding toward the future, dismissing the present as having only the significance of being a step on the way to a future moment of completion and accomplishment.” ~ Pavel Somov
In the book Present Perfect, Pavel Somov discusses time as it relates to perfectionistic tendencies. For much of my life, I felt like I was in a battle against time. I had a view of time that Somov describes in the quote above where I dismissed the present for the completion of future accomplishments. I love his bicycle racing analogy with the yellow jersey as I was truly focused on achieving as many goals as I could until the time in that day was gone. I was not living in the present moment, but focused on the future. I was always rushing from one obligation to the next and not taking time to smell the roses. I would work long hours and multitask to get as many things done in a day as I could. But the list never seemed to end. I was focused on the destination and not the journey. Somov tells us that “Perfectionism is a future orientation, a looking beyond the present. As a perfectionist, you tend to be in the present only long enough to reject it: to confirm that reality once again failed your expectations of perfection and to reset your sights on the future.”
And then I found art. I took my first art class and I loved it. I had never studied art in school. Remember, I was a perfectionist and art was not part of the curriculum to achieve my goals. For one day a week, I would leave work on time and go the art class. And during that class I learned about the flow of life and time was not an issue. I would be in the present moment, I did not think about work or anything else in my life. It was during my art class that I learned about needing to have a balance between work and play.
Time is man-made phenomenon. We have created measurement devices to break life into decades, years, months, hours, minutes and seconds. But what I have really learned is that there is only now. I have changed my attitude, perceptions and beliefs about time and it is no longer a battle. Mindfulness has helped me to understand that I have a choice and there is only now and it is up to me to make each moment precious.
How do you view time?
Is there anything that you do where time feels like it stands still?
How can you live more in the present moment?
Peggy Steffens is an artist and Chopra Certified Meditation Instructor
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