Who’s in control: you or the clock?

clockHow do you mark off your days?
By the clock, a to-do list, or a busy schedule?

In modern Western culture, we live and breathe the phrase, “Time is money.” We rehearse and rehash our daily routines, reschedule our meeting and double-check our lists, and hurry from one thing to another prompted by the clock and alarms.

Recently my husband and I spent a week in Navajo country with a group of high school students. I have childhood roots in this area, and many memories have been drawn from the archives of my mind. One–the low value Navajos generally place on the clock–is something that has both fascinated and frustrated me.

10258777_448904755314441_778202438116815116_oIn the Navajo world, things happen when they are ready to happen. Time is relatively flexible and generally not structured into compartments (the opposite of the public school system’s methods of learning). Traditionally the Navajo people have oriented themselves to the present and the immediate tasks/people/needs at hand. This stems from the deep philosophical emphasis on being rather than becoming.

In my understanding, this means: “Focus on the now. When the time is right, move on.”

Takes a little pressure off, doesn’t it? This is what fascinates me and draws me to adopt this rhythm of life.

On the other hand, I’ve been in the situation of waiting and watching the clock for something to commence. These delays are where frustration rears its head.

I don’t see a future that isn’t ticked off by minutes, hours, days, and weeks.

But I am learning to add value to the present by “being” there–giving my full attention to the whoever or whatever of the now.

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