“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” – William Gibson
“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” – RUMI
In golf, taking a mulligan is a “do-over,” taking another shot after a bad one. This morning started with a few minor irritations that I had to take care of right away. It interrupted my morning rituals and I was going to skip morning pages, writing my daily post for Cast-Light and listening to Insight Timer, my daily non-negotiable activities. The details aren’t relevant other than it offered an inflection point to decide if it would be major and direct the rest of my day.
Hard STOP. Pivot over spiral.
I decided to take a “mulligan” and restart the day to choose the direction rather than succumb to the spiral of a bad start, of a golf ball shanked into the woods.
The thing about mulligans is that you can only take them in the present moment, at the precise point of inflection. It is the only time that they work. We can’t take mulligans for what’s happened in the past. While we linger in past offences – both received and given, in roads not taken and taken, in words said and not said, time is ticking. We forgo and fritter away the present, the only place we can influence and experience.
While we can’t change the past, we can heed the lessons to do things differently, choose new paths and know that every mile mattered to get to the present. The past has had its turn, the present offers new trails and adventures to explore, to start fresh each day. In those moments when you start to spiral to old patterns and triggers, familiar reactions, making minor things major, take a mulligan to change the trajectory of your day upward and forward.
Create and commit to two to three “non-negotiables” for yourself to not only serve yourself better but others as well. What we offer daily – positive or negative – is cast upon the world and returns to us tenfold. When the golf ball plops in the middle of the pond, choose the positive, take a mulligan, drop another ball and take another swing. Start from a settled place, centered in intention and attention, to properly prepare yourself to see the extraordinary in ordinary days.
“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr. Seuss
Stay at home orders, 24/7 news, a lot of time with those in our household, keeping energetic kids busy inside as well as becoming their school teacher, working remote, uncertainty of what will happen with COVID-19 and a new vocabulary of what’s essential and nonessential have shifted our daily reality. As we adjust to our “new normal,” we have an invitation to create something of this open space and time.
While we may feel stuck, the sands of time continue to flow through the hourglass. We all have the same 24 hours in a day and 7 days in the week. Just a few weeks ago, we lamented our busy schedules and now we lament too much time on our hands. Time remains the same so what needs to change is our perception of time and what we will each decide to do with it.
When caught in the heaviness of moments through the day, imagine four weeks from today. What will you be able to say that you created with this time? How will you be different? Did you learn anything new? Did you foster gratitude? Did you build deeper and stronger relationships? Did you finally listen to that still small voice inside calling you back to yourself?
Here are some encouraging quotes on time that may help you think differently about the potential of this very unusual time.
“Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration.” – Khalil Gibran
“We must use time creatively.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“So during those first moments of the day, which are yours and yours alone, you can circumvent these boundaries and concentrate fully on spiritual matters. And this gives you the opportunity to plan the time management of the entire day.” – Menachem Mendel Schneerson
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” – Albert Einstein
“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” – C. S. Lewis
“Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.” – Leonardo da Vinci
“Time will pass and seasons will come and go.” – Roy Bean
“Time = Life, Therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.” – Alan Lakein
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – J. R. R. Tolkien
“Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
“There are two kinds of worries – those you can do something about and those you can’t. Don’t spend any time on the latter.” – Duke Ellington
“Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.” – Max Frisch
“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.” – Barbara Bush
“Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent.” – Ambrose Bierce
“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.” – Earl Nightingale
“Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short.” – Adam Hochschild
“Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it’s no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing.” – Eckhart Tolle
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie
“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it.” – Oprah Winfrey
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn
“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 others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs
“Each moment is perfect and heaven-sent, in that each moment holds the seeds for growth.” – Suzan-Lori Parks