Saturday, 19 April 2014

Life: taking time to be still. We want you to sleep well tonight, Let the world turn without you tonight

Those lyrics from one of the songs from Jesus Christ Super Star have been in my head for more than 40 years now. And whenever I get stressed with life's aggravations; I recall them!

In this morning's Australian Magazine there is a small piece by Phillip Adams about time! He points out that his Grandfather's farmhouse had one clock. His grandfather didn't own a watch; and he toiled with a horse drawn plough to work the land each day.

You see he didn't need a watch.

He had the seasons!

But today.. well we all have quartz watches, those inventions of the mid 70s that are accurate to a fraction of a second. We have them on our arms, we have clocks in our cars, on my motorbike, on our computer screens.. and still.. we're all time poor.

At university in 1985 doing a business and marketing course, one of our lecturers mentioned how different the USA was. He had spent 12 months working at a SOCAL university and one day he asked one of his fellow lecturers to have a coffee with him. To his surprise.. this fellow pulled out a pocket diary and said.. yes.. March 9 at 10:00 AM I have a half hour free. Meet you at the cafeteria.

The Australian was shocked.. it was a date 3 weeks into the future.. and as he told our class of business managers.. we all laughed!

But now.. 30 years later.. this is our reality here in Australia.

So why do we try to cram too much into our lives? Is it a follow on from our timetable at high school. Be in this room with these books at 10:00 AM .. or else.

Stuff that!

Is relaxation a lost art form. Do our recreational activities all involve doing as much as possible in as many different places as possible? What about having a holiday at the beach.. and doing ... nothing!

Sit on the beach (with the prescribed sunscreen of course) and watch the clouds go past.

"Look.. that one looks like Ringo Star!"

Or if you prefer the bush like me.. find a shady tree by a creek and sit down with a good book. The book will get you started and then your mind will wander to all sorts of things as you gaze above its pages and watch the world around you.

Taking time to be still I call it. We all need it.. but why don't we all try for it more often?

It certainly lowers your stress levels!

Do you really need a watch to tell you it is morning tea time?

Leave your watch at home on holidays. (Unless you need to catch a plane at a certain time.. then leave it in your luggage until departure day)

I remember at the tender age of 16 I went to see Easy Rider with my good mate Ken Brand. The thing that blew me away from that movie was Peter Fonda taking off his expensive wrist watch at the start of the trip into the desert.. and throwing it away. Wow! I couldn't believe that! Not having your time structured. Now that is how to live your life.

When I came home and told my parents about that.. and how it impressed me so much.. well my mother thought it was something only a person on drugs would do. My father asked if it was an expensive watch!

From that day 45 years ago into the future of my life, my eternal search for more personal freedom has been a big driving force in my life. Being able to march to the beat of my own drum I guess is what it is all about. Not having to turn up at a factory and punch your card in every day! Having spent many years as a sales rep on the road for MAX Instruments was magic. Set your own timetable and agenda for who you want to see. Excellent!

And the freedom offered by motorcycle travel is another big part of my life. Go where and when you want to. Being self employed does allow you a lot of these freedoms.. a lot more than those who must turn up at work every day to clock up their annual holidays. Of course; they probably earn a lot more money than me too!  But there are no pockets in funeral shrouds they tell me!

But as for these masterful machines of time themselves...

Well watches fascinate me.. my mates tell me I am into watch porn. In fact I can see 7 of them on my desk now.. and that is a lot when I consider that my good mate Gordon O'Donohue the horologist has a box full of my "other" watches giving them a spring (actually Autumn) service at the moment.

So as you can see dear reader.. I am torn by the love of watches themselves while hating what they do! And what they do is mark the time of our passing parade, the very seconds of our life as we waste them on sometimes such stupid things as stress.

Worrying about things that may never happen, worrying about something that happened years ago and might happen again. (And probably won't)

So despite owning all of these fabulous time keeping machines.. I like to think my time is not structured. To wake up in the morning with no plans and see what events and experiences materialise as earth rotates on its axis one more time!

Now despite my best efforts over the past 45 years since seeing Easy Rider, I still have had many days when my time was structured; but also then a hell of a lot more when it wasn't.

Like today; to wake up with only one thing on the agenda.. and to spend the rest of the day simply being still.

Try it.. turn off the radio, the TV and all other sources of distraction. Forget about the lawn that needs mowing, the car that needs washing etc.

Just sit (or lie in my case) on the couch and do nothing for a few hours.

Take the time to simply "be still".. let the world turn without you tonight!

You'll be much better for it!

It's a little bit Zen you see!

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