Suffocating blackness is swallowing me. I try to claw my way out but my fingers keep slipping. Where is the handhold in this damned place? There’s no water, but I’m drowning. Fighting for the breath I will never be able to breathe. Feeling the surface up there, so close and yet completely out of reach. Wrestling with all my strength like a mad shark caught in a fishing net, frightened and angry. Panicking, I kick and scream my head off. Let me OUT! A rope, a hand… please! Nothing, I’m left alone to battle this crushing darkness.
I finally manage to wake up, my body rigid with tension, my mind a scrambled mess. I fought off my nightmares, but the day just started and I’m already exhausted.
Phone. Clock. How many minutes do I have?
Planning. Programming. Filling my agenda.
Project. Class. Work. Run… run… run!
What about that meeting? Where are you going to fit the preparation for that exam? And don’t forget the project! Your group counts on you.
Where is that damned bus? You’re wasting 5 minutes you could use to half read a page from that book you planned to use on your thesis.
Counting the minutes, the seconds, I can use to achieve multiple ever growing goals. Filling my agenda with never ending tasks. I don’t feel in control anymore. There’s always one more thing to do, one more important page to write, one more urgent email to send, and I’m constantly trying to catch up. The finish line is moving faster than I’ll ever be, always out of the reach of my stretched hands.
Today I stopped.
There was no face staring back at me. Although I’ve met so many beautiful people. No comforting voice asking me if I’d like a drink and a chat. Because I’ve said so many times ‘no can’t do’ that friends have quit asking. No comforting arms ready to hug my stressed body, no one to let me know everything will be ok.
Just the cold face of my oppressive clock. Just the filled urgency of my agenda. I realised in the self centered maniacal attempt to keep up with my stressful life I forgot to nourish my relationships treating them as secondary, accessory to my ‘oh so important’ routine.
What have I done? Where are the hours spent listening? Reading? Looking? Enjoying not knowing what hour it is? Deciding there’s no need for a start or an end time? Just savouring the suspension of a present moment and giving my activity the time it really needs?