Women always seem to be time-starved with a longer list of things to do than hours in a day. It seems everybody wants a commitment: the school is pressing for parents to join a student excursion; the swim team is begging for scorekeepers; the dog needs shots; and the boss is demanding a lengthy report yesterday. All of this on top of dirty laundry piling up at home.
It is tempting to go faster and harder in an effort to speed up the process and compulsively check items off the list but that will only make things worse. You’ll experience a time crisis, ending up stressed and exhausted. It seems counter-intuitive but I’d recommend leaving all the responsibilities behind and going to an art gallery!
If you want to step into your greatness and enjoy all life has to offer you have to let go of your subjective belief that there is never enough time. That is best experienced in the oases of an art gallery, as Arianna Huffington explains in her newly released book “Thrive”. First, it forces us to unplug from our hyper-connected lives and second, it allows us to experience awe and wonder.
Experiencing moments of awe expands our perception of time, making us feel that we have more time available. Research conducted by Melanie Rudd at Stanford shows that when we marvel at the wonder of the world we become less impatient and experience greater life satisfaction. I believe that there is no better place to feel awe, or the overwhelming ‘sensitivity to greatness’, than when viewing art.
Rudd concludes that this works because experiences of awe bring people into the present moment. In this capacity, awe adjusts your perception of time, making life feel more enjoyable. When you focus on what is happening in the ‘here and now’ it has the effect of elongating time. It feels more expansive. Rather than fleeting by, time lays out before you like an extensive prairie landscape, which is art in itself!
Additionally, the very act of going to an art gallery means you are taking care of yourself and that too, will enhance your relationship with time. I discovered this personally on a trip to Spain and let me tell you, this was a difficult shift for a serious ‘timeaholic’ like me. I always prided myself on my time management techniques but that meant that I pushed my body as if it were a machine. It was a downward spiral until I got sick.
On a subconscious level I knew it was necessary to change but was surprised to find the answer in the work of surrealist painter, Salvadore Dali, at his gallery in Figueres, a short trip from Barcelona. Once there, I was especially struck by one of his most famous symbols – the face of a curvy, stretched-out clock. In his paintings this clock can be found flying through the air, extended over a closed eyelid, covered with ants or missing its numbers entirely.
The closed eyelid is said to represent the sexual act when all sense of time is lost. There are no numbers left on the clock when we are dead, as we have no more time. Yet, the ants on the clock face represent the anxiety that is associated with time when we are alive. In other words time changes based on our circumstances.
His message about the fluidity of time really resonated with me. In spite of the precise ticking of a Swiss clock, time is not rigid. Time can make you feel energized or depleted while moving by either quickly or painfully slow. The key is to spend your time on things associated with personal meaning and time becomes abundant.
Here’s what I concluded: each of us has a true talent – something that makes us unique. When we are expressing it, we step outside time and space. We can be working for two minutes or two hours and it seems the same to us. We lose track of time when we are ‘in the flow, doing what we are meant to do.’
If you are constantly monitoring and managing your time, you’ll limit the ability of your special gift to come through. In your effort to control, your creativity will be stifled, and you’ll do what you think you should, as opposed to allowing your true talent to emerge. The expectation of security that comes from controlling time actually limits your potential.
Next time you are overwhelmed, experiment by going to an art gallery. Maybe, like me, you’ll find awe and be astonished to find that time is elongated. Suddenly, more time emerges than you thought possible.
If an art gallery doesn’t do it for you, try walking in nature to feel its magic. A sunset with indigo clouds whisking across a fuchsia sky is certainly the art gallery of the universe. It could be nature or an art gallery- it just takes something to bring you into the present.
Either way, forget about trying to beat the clock. You can change your relationship with time by pausing to experience wonder. When you do you’ll become more of yourself. You’ll stand tall in your power and become a bigger, fuller human being. Allow time to graciously open the door and step forward into your greatness.