Living in the northeastern U.S., the month of January can feel longer than any other 31-day month in the year. With its shorter daylight, colder temperatures, and barren trees, January can sometimes feel like it will never yield itself to February and push toward Spring. When I was a student in seminary, one January, I took an intensive one-month course in Ancient Hebrew. I was in class 5 days per week, 4 hours per day, and then studied 8-10 chapters per day seven days per week. With this intense focus, the month that usually felt like it lasted a year, now felt like one day.
I lived in the relativity of time that month more than any experience before. After I emerged from my day-called-January experience—and washed my laundry and caught up with other things I didn’t do in that day—I reflected a lot on how I relate with time. I realized that I often said, “I don’t have enough time.” Directed by this scarcity narrative, I focused my time only on the things that I valued as most important, such as work, academic studies, and helping others. I gave limited time to doing things for my own self-care and nurture. As well, I was often so focused on what I needed to get done in the next hour, day, month or year that I didn’t live fully in the present moment and experience all of its richness.
The narrative of “I don’t have much time” kept me trapped by responsibilities, demands, and expectations I accepted from other people. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, Inc. said, “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” To distinguish your inner voice from the voices of religion, society, family, and work necessitates that you value and trust the “still small voice” that speaks within you when it speaks life-affirming messages for yourself and others.
To follow your own intuition requires that you take time to be still enough on the inside to be able to hear your intuition’s voice. To be still enough to hear your inner voice, requires you to let go of any narratives that tell you there is not enough time for you or that you are not important enough for you to spend time on. The Psalmist writes, “Be still and know that I am God.” This text urges you to know that you have enough time because you are not alone. God is with you. The ancestors and angels are with you, supporting your efforts. Ganesh (Hindu) is clearing obstacles. Saint Anthony (Catholic) is helping you find lost things. Oya (Yoruba) is bringing the changes you need.
Whatever your spiritual tradition may be, access the spiritual supports that are ready and available to you. Invite the help you may need for you are not alone. All the things that are crammed into your day called January, there is still enough time for you to focus on you. You have enough time to be your full, authentic self. As you meditate on this truth every day of January and throughout the year, watch your life bloom into its Spring.
When you read my blog posts, please send your comments and I will be glad to respond. Peace, CJ