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Managing Your Time

Author:  on 
July 26, 2013
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My friend, Abdul, who is also a TAFA member, posted a poem on his blog today about time.  I think it is quite beautiful!

Time

It’s like water that runs through the river of existence, through the valley of life, never to return.
It’s like the flowers of spring that become dust among other dusts, never to be found again.
It’s like the rolling waves–an end and a beginning that never stops.
It’s like the end of the day that brings the night, and the night which brings the day…

The passage of Time: for some it’s gone, for some it’s to come.
It’s what you have and what you don’t–a gift  given, a gift taken…
Time has passed me more than once on the pathway of life:  the faster the run, the quicker the time.
The sun rises or the sun sets, lightness or darkness, sadness or happiness, good or bad…
All becomes a memory I have stepped on or walked away from time and time again.

Is it that to know the end is to know the beginning?
Time is what I don’t know;  it passes me as I walk by, consciously or unconsciously.

Yet I smile, for life–a brother or a sister is a cup to drink from, a cup to hold, so …
Smile for the day you have received;  All that belongs to you is a gift.
Smile for the moment it comes to you, before it’s gone.
Smile for it gives you a memory every time it leaves you.
Smile for the feeling that you own the world without a border to it.
In every corner you have a sister and a brother.
Smile, for life is a cup to drink from, a cup to hold.

– Abdul Wardak    (TAFA Profile)

 

afghan cup 10I’ve been thinking about Time a lot lately. There are so many things that I want to do and never enough hours in the day to get them accomplished. Much of it has to do with TAFA, but I also have a veggie garden that is going mad, two dogs who want to play with me and go for walks, tons of stuff to list on Etsy, and of course, art that I would like to make. Oh… and the house is screaming for a complete re-organization and deep cleaning!

I have been terrible in these last two years with my interpersonal relationships. I think about people I care about a lot. They come into my mind when I am doing dishes (yes, I still wash them by hand…), editing images, weeding the garden, or anything else where my brain is free to roam while my hands perform some task. But, do I follow up on these thoughts? Rarely.

I would also like to volunteer somewhere.  Somehow I have become reclusive, keeping to my own company.  Mostly, I believe it is because of the constant stress of having to make enough money to keep the utilities on, dogs fed, and meeting those goals that I want to accomplish. I work seven days a week for about ten hours a day.  Yes, I can take breaks, go outside, take a nap, stay up till the wee hours (I live alone) and I really like that freedom. I don’t know if I could even do a 9-5 job again. But, I miss and know that I need contact with the big community that is out there.  The one that is here, just down the street.  I love my online community and get a lot of strength, support and meaning from these relationships, but communication with them is still sitting in front of a screen.

I am not alone.

Every now and then a TAFA member will comment about how few of our members are actually involved in our daily exchanges on Facebook or other social media hubs. They don’t have the bird’s-eye view of what’s going on out there like I do. I know that many of our members are dealing with life threatening illnesses, that they have elderly parents they are caring for, children who are struggling, that their own businesses are either struggling along or that they have so much going on that they barely have time to breathe. Some are young parents, many work full-time jobs and quite a few are just tired of the demands the web inflicts on their time.  I talked to a TAFA member over the phone last night who has not had a day off in two months. She is a cancer survivor and has been physically well for five years, but as she talked about her struggles and challenges, I kept thinking about how wrong all of this is!

There is a reason for the “Sabbath”.  For those of you who are not familiar with Christian and Jewish traditions, the Sabbath (Saturday or Sunday, depending on whether you are Jewish or Christian), is a day of rest. Rest means family, community, not working. I moved to a small city in Kentucky from Chicago eight years ago.  In Chicago, nothing stops.  You can go out at 4am in the morning and find lots of things going on. Here, everything is over at 7PM. !!!????!!!!  Sundays, everything is dead. The business side of me says, “You must be out of your minds! This will NEVER be a tourist town!” The community side of me says, “Aha! Some things are just more important than trying to make money.  Good for you!”

I have a basic plan. Mornings are for answering emails, doing social media stuff and taking care of business. Eat and feed the dogs and birds. Then, do something physical. Weed the garden, clean the house, run errands. Evenings, more computer work or supposedly, sew. The reality is that there is always some crisis going on. Last week my laptop froze up and it seemed like it was the end. It’s only two years old, but I work it to death, but still….  things should last longer than that. Got it to work with a few weird administrative issues. This forum had some major issues. I figured them out. Now, my printer is not being recognized or found by either computer (I have two). Last night I found that over 200 images in my personal site had become unattached (meaning that when you look at blog post, the images are empty). It’s going to mean hours and hours of work to get them back on again. The basic plan does not work.

Reclaim the Sabbath!

I feel the need and the desire to force myself to disconnect. To stop. To breathe.

Can I do it?  I don’t know…  but, I will try.  In the end, my feeling is that Abdul’s poem is right on target. Each day is precious and what matters are the relationships that we nurture and honor. My sister quoted a Brazilian saying once that has always stayed with me, “A flower without water cannot grow.” Ignore those relationships, stand back, and for sure, they will wilt and die. Or, at least they will not fulfill the potential that they could. Recently, we lost one of our TAFA members to cancer, Heather Lair.  Her death was sudden and shocked me to the core. So, when members complain about other members not being involved, I think of all of the things that keep us from living our lives fully.

Today might be the last day. Of course, I love the interaction and I believe that the members who do engage also benefit tremendously. But, what I want all of us to understand is that life passes by quickly and that the nature of life on the internet is that it is fleeting. Every profile is a real person or a group of people working towards something that I truly honor. When and if they are able to interact with each other, I know that great things can happen and that our lives will be enriched. (Most of the time… snarky things can happen, too, as we ARE human!)

What about you? What do you think about Time? How do you balance out your interests, your work, your people, the planet? Do you have a formula?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

_IGP1751Abdul’s smile at our TAFA Market, 2011

About

I've been working with the arts and craft world in many capacities since 1988. Handmade textiles have been my core focus since launching TAFA in 2010.

My hope is to contribute to the economic development potential the arts bring to the world, along with the intrinsic beauty shown in the work. May the world become a friendlier place for artists and nature!

Arrived in Kentucky after a childhood in Brazil, college in Minnesota and 20 years in Chicago. It's been a ride!

3 Comments

on Managing Your Time.
  1. |

    I think it’s very tricky to balance out everything. The things that have helped me the most are, getting rid of clutter so I have physical and mental space. (This is an ongoing process!) This includes projects and ideas that were draining or no longer serving.
    Doing some soul searching and finding out exactly what my core values are so that I can live from those, from the inside out and work towards living the life I want.
    My main timekeeping tools are a notebook where I plan and manage tasks and write down random thoughts so I don’t lose my focus but keep on track. And a kitchen timer – setting artifical deadlines for tasks really focuses the mind on positive action and it also gives me a sense of accomplishment. Breaking things down into chunks e.g. half an hour of focused action is better than none at all.

    My favourite website for getting help with all this stuff is the zenhabits blog which I dip in and out of.

    p.s. Re attaching and unattaching images – have you got plugins for that? There are a couple which I’ve installed on my site which I’ve found really useful and save a lot of time as you can attach and unattach from the media library view. If you need help with this give me a shout. xx

  2. |

    In my former life I did a bit of research on the use of the word ‘time’ in English. Quite interesting. Will think about writing a post about it.

    • |

      Is it that different from time in Germany? Now I am all curious, so you must write about it! 🙂

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