Time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’ into the future.
This first line of a Steve Miller Band song has haunted me ever since I read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. There are so many nuggets of wisdom in there, but I have been fascinated by Ann’s statement below:
Giving thanks is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with the weight of full attention.
In Part One we explored thankfulness and slowing time down. How taking time to be thankful helps us slow down, get more focused, and act more intentionally.
In Part Two we will explore thankfulness and adding time to your day.
I’m sure all of us have said at one time or another, if I only had a few more hours in the day, I could get caught up. Can we add hours to our day? Well, not actually of course, but we can feel like we have and the results of our day can demonstrate that we have, somehow, added time to our day.
One of the deepest connections I made when I was in college was when I was working on the strand in South Carolina for the summer. I had just gotten off work. I had my server uniform on but my shoes off and was squiggling my aching toes in the warm sand. One of my roommates plopped down beside me and said, “Wow, it looks like you have found a way to be in the moment! We are going to get along great.”
Of course I had to explain how her take on me wasn’t quite right, I was always running from one thing to the next and what she was seeing was just pure exhaustion. She shared more about what she meant and as she explained that truly being in the moment can add time to your day I could really see it!
Full attention is hard. We live in a world that values multi-tasking. Our smart phones and tablets make it so easy to be connected with everyone at all times. Our embrace of virtual community, virtual shopping and virtual TV has changed the way we interact in the real world, when we do interact in the real world.
Being fully present, letting no mental, physical or emotional distractions interrupt is difficult for most of us. But I bet we know someone who does that … and that is the person we go to when we need a listening ear!
Full attention can be heavy. Ann says that giving thanks gives weight to our full attention. As we take time to give thanks and redirect our thoughts to something with our whole heart, mind and spirit, a tangible clarity will weigh down time and space in such a way that we feel refreshed and rejuvenated and reborn!
Those few minutes we spend in grateful contemplation of this beautiful world we live in and the beautiful people we live with, whether we write it down in a journal or not, can become a highlight of our day. Not a mile marker that we just add to the list of things we do in our race to complete our day, but a milestone, a solid feature, a heavy anchor, a monument!
Full attention can be relevant. We don’t have to look for fragrant rose bushes or silly kitties in our path, although surprises like that are precious! We can find the grace of full attention in our interactions with the people we encounter in our day. We can find the grace of full attention in the tasks we must perform daily or the project we are working on. We can also find the grace of full attention in our daily devotions, spiritual readings or interesting podcasts.
Here is where we find time being added to our day! The weight of full attention in an attitude of gratefulness or honor in our relationships with friends and work partners multiplies our ability to connect and communicate. We find we have more time to talk about what is important, not being sidetracked by personal issues or hidden agendas or questioning motives.
Being grateful for the reasons we work or just paying full attention to the joy of the work itself will allow us to perform more accurately, more creatively and in a more timely manner. The weight of our full attention suspends the roll of time, giving us more time in our day!
In what situations do you find yourself desperately needing more time? Let’s brainstorm together …