Friday, December 3, 2010

Savoring Time

(Illustration Friday Topic: Savour)

Seal here:

This week, Seal participated in Illustration Friday, a great online resource where artists can be inspired by weekly art challenges and build a creative community. The topic for this week was "Savour."

It really made me think about the idea of time: how to savour it. Time is used: to do what we enjoy doing (art), what we don't like doing but have to do (work/errands), resting (sleeping or taking breaks), or escaping (when you don't even remember what you did the last two hours, like video games, browsing the internet, or watching tv reruns - you can't even remember what you watched).

So how can we honor time? How can we savour it? How can we make use of it, whether we are creating, working, resting, or escaping, in the most effective manner? When I say "effective," I don't mean in a militant-rigid type of way, but that it's enjoyable, that you are present, and aware that you are DOING something. (Resting/breaking also count, they are also verbs, you are (do-ing) rest-ing/ sleep-ing.)

Time is flexible and pliable. Activities can either "take up a lot of time" or "we forget about time," something dreadful or dreamy feels "like forever" and other things go by in an instant ("where does the time go?" we ask ourselves).

In order to make use of our time, we need to take a look at the word: Savour.

Sa.vour. -
To appreciate fully; enjoy or relish
A distinctive quality or sensation
[to taste] (life)
The power to excite interest

Savour is a sexy word. How many of us appreciate our day and time fully? Actually smell and taste our morning coffee? Do you taste life? Are you excited? Engaged and interested in the work you are doing throughout your day? When we are creating, working, resting, or escaping, do you make the conscious decision: "this is how I will spend my next 15min, hour, half a day, a week on 'X'" ?

When we taste something and are aware of its specific distinctive qualities (a juicy, textured ripe orange), or when we are passionately interested in something, (painting the difference between the soft fur of a cat, the coldness of shiny metal, the exact curve and idiosyncratic expression of our lover's face), for that moment, we stop time. We are aware, present, enjoying, and savouring. We do not care what else is happening outside, we are engaged with life. Time is well spent.

How do you spend your time? Are you savouring it? Draw a circle. It is your pie/ pizza chart. You have 24 hours in a day: What percentage of your day is used for 1) things you like to do 2) things you don't like to do 3) resting 4) escaping? You can even draw a different chart with your own personal categories: I have one that divides: 1) Time spent on art 2) work 3) health 4) friends/ family 5) personal enrichment 6) break/ resting activities 7) entertainment. How much of your lifetime is spent on doing things you love?

Don't be alarmed if most of your pie slice consists of work or doing things for other people. (Most pie charts are unfortunately like this). The answer is to free up more time to do more of what you love. (hire an intern, a maid, a friend to do your busywork, say "no" to more workload, move into your career field, get paid to do what you love doing).

If you cannot free up more time, the trick is to savour the moment, even when you are working or doing something you don't necessarily want to do. In order to do this, you need to consciously make the decision to use that time in a specific way. "I am working from 9-4pm."

When you are conscious of the decision to use your time in a specific way, you give yourself the agency and awareness - you are choosing to do this. When it's time to work, you work. Don't daydream about your next vacation - you'll slow down the process. Get it over with and then when the time comes, you can fully enjoy your vacation. "I am resting for 30minutes before the next project." I am consciously fully resting for the entirety of 30 minutes, instead of juggling eating dinner while still working by the computer, I am enjoying and savoring my rest. You can work more efficiently after you have fully rested. Otherwise, your body will continue to run, but your mind and soul have already checked out- which is often why life feels like a blur.

When you name your time, you give yourself the permission to fully engage in that activity - you are savoring.

The last tip is you need to create personal goals in all aspects of your life.
"to contribute more at work meetings"
"enter more art competitions and craft shows"
"call friends more"
"surprise my partner, by taking out the trash first"

You can savour time, when you consciously engage to work for yourself, to mark changes in your personal growth, to choose to be present in life, no matter the activity or circumstances.

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