Time and I, we go way back. But things have gotten hard… Oof! So I called Curiosity and booked us a session.
Curiosity is a frighteningly insightful dude. Most of the time he doesn’t even have to say anything at all, although he does have this one eyebrow that ventures up ever so slightly when he doesn’t quite buy something. But his eyes are always kind and oftentimes they twinkle. And, as you probably know, he’s my favorite superhero for the hard stuff.
Our session started off kind of rock and roll. I am the more verbal one and since I’d taken the initiative and made the appointment thank you very much, I just went right into it. Why beat around the bush! Time was right there, of course, sitting at the other end of the couch.
I said to Curiosity that I often feel at Time’s mercy, like he’s some ruthless taskmaster whom I will never quite please, who then “has the freaking nerve,” I said, wagging my head side to side, “to take away my goddam evenings and weekends working. You know: work-working, think-working, worry-working, not-working… He just won’t let up.”
Curiosity nodded slightly and turned toward Time. But excuse me very much, I wasn’t done.
“And what is it with just slipping away so fast? What! End of month already? And the years! Forget about it. Half the time I don’t even know what year we are.” Hrmph! And here I turned to yell at time (and no, I’m not proud of it): “You move so fucking fast I cannot even think. I’m exhausted!”
And then I burst into tears. Curiosity nodded and with soft eyes pointed over to the pile of silk handkerchiefs he keeps with him at all times. But do you know who beat me to them to hand me one? Yes. It was Time. Which made me cry even harder.
I didn’t notice right away but Time had taken the handkerchief as an opportunity to sidle up toward me. He didn’t say a word but his hand from the short arm took my hand that was closest to him, and his hand from the long arm started smoothing the hair from my face. Which yeah, made me cry more. Because, oh my. It had been awhile since we’d had any affection, he and I.
“Please, can’t I just turn you back and time travel and take back things that I said, things that I did because I’m so sorry about those things, especially that one, but you have passed and and and snot snot snot I can’t get you back– and now I’m forty freaking two and I don’t know what to do–“
By now I had my head buried in Time’s chest and he didn’t even seem to mind at all about the snot. I whimpered like a 3-year-old and couldn’t speak for a good long while because the pressure in my chest and throat were so tight and had been building for some kind of forever and I swear I thought my heart would explode.
Thoughts, they kept flitting across my mind. Like about how every so often I wake up at dark:thirty in the morning with surges of some kind of restless impatience coursing down my legs. I’m not sure what exactly that is, truth be told, and it used to freak me out. I’ve noticed it’s related to wanting to get to the important stuff before it’s too late… before time runs out… And oftentimes it’s when I’m putting things off, both the niggly things and the big things…
Time kept holding my hand and I remembered how much I’d once loved those very kind hands. (Because, my man Time he’s not some cheap-ass digital infrared, oh no. We are talking steady and strong old-school hands here. And, if you must, I’ve always had a thing for hands. Shhhh…)
At some point I turned to face my man Time and through snot and tears I said, “Please don’t go! Please don’t leave me. I know things haven’t been good between us. And often I come to bed and just fall asleep exhausted without even so much as a kiss, but I’m not ready for us to be over. Yet. Please–“
And he kissed me, right there, not to shut me up or anything but because he must know that kisses hands-down beat words sometimes, no? And then, forgoing the handkerchiefs, he caught my wayward tears with more kisses and those steady, kind hands. Until the tears ran out.
And then, in the first and only words my man Time had uttered in our whole session with Curiosity, he said: “I’m right here, Sweetheart.”
Although it was time to go, that’s the part where Curiosity didn’t say anything like “That’s our time for today.” Because Curiosity? He’s the supersmart.
On the practical side, which is always where change can really take root, I was very excited a few weeks ago when my friend and itty biz colleague Eileen Corrigan Valazza released “The Sailboat Kit.” The timing couldn’t have been more synchronistic, given my relationship work with Time.
OK, you should know that pretty much anything Eileen does I love. But I was very excited because The Sailboat Kit is a time help-y thing “for people who hate structure (but love metaphors).” *Jumping up and down* Metaphors!!! “Me me, sign me up!”
A sailboat is Eileen’s metaphor for the kind of vessel she wants to navigate through her week in, but she invites us to pick whatever metaphor works best for us. I fell so in love with Eileen’s sailboat, that I kept her metaphor.
Eileen’s kit has helped me see things differently and make several shifts in how I relate to time:
In the last 3 weeks, since boarding my sailboat, I’ve re-discovered this thing called “an evening.” You know, evening, as in a time after which work stops. Wow.
I’ve also gotten way curious about this thing called “rest.” And about making time for it so that it is more likely to happen.
I also get to have a day that is called “a weekend.” (As a massage therapist, much of my hands-on work is on Saturdays and Sundays). OK, so right now my weekend is only one day: Friday, which I renamed Freeday. But, one day? Wow. Compared to No-day, that’s grand.
Envisioning my week and putting it down on paper in the fun way Eileen has me do has also helped me consciously set aside a little time for the niggly things that end up cluttering my brain waves when I put them off for important things.
Oh and too? I’ve made explicit space for self-care and movement and joy.
To sum it up, Eileen’s Sailboat Kit is the awesome. I love it. You can read about it over here and get yourself one if you want.
And I thought I was a relationship coach! I have got nothing on Curiousity. Thank you so much for sharing this tender story. And did you see me nodding my heading up and down furiously when you said you had a thing for hands (and let’s not forget that kiss)?
Really this is such a tough struggle that I share and it is enormously comforting to read your incredibly insightful exploration.
heidi, My favorite mantra when I’m in a fight with my man, TIME, is the song:” T-i-i=ime; He’s on my side, yes he is!” This was so helpful to read…
Heidi – this has got to be one of the coolest Focusing-oriented descriptions I’ve ever read……I love your creative way of sharing your stories!