Calling something “life-changing” has almost become cliche, but in the case of a retreat I attended last month, it’s true. For two days, I had a chance to practice yoga, meditate in nature, work with horses, and connect with strong women from across central Alberta. And by the end of the weekend, I felt different. I was different.
(I promise I only wept a little.)
Throughout the course of the weekend, the facilitators shared wisdom and insight in every moment they spent with us – but one piece of advice they shared truly resonated with me then and continues to resonate with me today. They said:
“Do the things that make you lose time.”
We’ve all experienced this sensation of losing time at one point or another. You get so involved in what you’re doing that you forget to eat, forget to go to the bathroom, forget to check the clock – and, in an instant, hours have passed and you feel wrung out in the best possible way.
For someone who has an unhealthy reliance on the clock and the way it neatly segments a day, I struggle with this notion of lost time. I like the control time gives me over my day, and I don’t often allow myself to get so lost in something that I forget the time.
For me, it’s always ‘what’s next?’ I just had lunch; what’s next? This workshop ends at 4:00; what’s next? I’m almost done this chapter; what’s next? I’m never in the moment because I’m thinking about the moment that comes next.
But lately, I’m starting to notice the things that keep me firmly in the moment – the things that make me lose time.
The retreat was the first time it really triggered for me. The entire weekend, I had no notion of what time it was at any given point in the day, and I was so drawn to the horses and the yoga and the meditation and the people that I didn’t care.
I’ve noticed little moments like that since then: baking bread with my sister; playing boardgames until the wee hours of the morning with some friends; spending an afternoon designing a couple of ads for Volunteer Central; building my very own Hobbit hole with my sister and some lovely geeky friends; riding a horse around and around and around a ring; crafting an article for work out of a series of seemingly-disjointed quotes; learning to sword fight for the first time last night.
These are the things I need more of in my life. These are the things that leave me feeling happy and fulfilled.
Sure, I might lose time by binge-watching all nine seasons of the Office again – and I did; I lost so much time – but hours spent in bed, zoned out in front of the tv, leave a person empty. It’s a joyless, wasteful way to lose time.
And beyond all else, I want joy in my life – the type of unadulterated joy I feel being around horses or hitting a guy with a sword or digging my hands in some dough.
I want the joy of being in the moment doing something I love.
I want the kind of joy that only comes from losing time.