How to Find the Time (and the Space)
Where do you find the time?
And the space?
That's been on my mind this week, as springtime travel and work commitments have been threatening to take their toll.
Finding time is one thing, when it's possible -- easily so -- to spend every waking hour on work projects, and every other waking hour (ahem) on family or social commitments.
You hear me on this time thing, I'm pretty sure.
Can we also talk about finding space?
Here's what's interesting to me about space: it has a dynamic all its own, like dancing partners. It just depends on who's on the floor with you just then.
Sometimes space is all I want. In a cramped seat on long-haul flight, for example, or in a crowded train or subway car. Or even when I'm looking for a little elbow room in my schedule to leisurely bask in its sunlight.
Sometimes space is terrifying. When you’re a writer facing a deadline and a blank page, for example, or when you rise before dawn in some foreign country and there's a long, cold, dark road standing between you and your flight home.
But then sometimes it's the possibilities of space that's all I can see. Or, more accurately, sometimes it's the possibilities of space that I convince myself to see, especially when I’m feeling hemmed in, drowning in details, distracted by perfectionism, or thinking tight and small.
At those times, if I can see my way to spaciousness and turn the corner on possibilities, it’s like a salve. It reboots things. It gets the groove back.
So, how does that happen? How do we shift our sense of space from "hemmed in" to "possibilities"? How do we go from straightjacket to fluid groove? How do we find the space to flow?
You can probably guess by now that I’m going to encourage you to meditate. Which I am.
But here’s another idea that's a little more immediate, and that helps me every time.
Hold up your hands so that they face each other. Spread your fingers apart, wide. Now connect your fingertips, so that all five fingertips of one hand meet all five fingertips of the other hand. Keep spreading your fingers gently.
Hold your hands in your lap, or in front of your solar plexus. Look down at the shape you’ve created, and take a breath. Now take another breath more slowly.
What will probably happen is that you'll want to rotate this hand gesture. When you do, notice all the room for the air to circulate. Notice how it feels to connect your fingertips, and the sensations it generates.
Maybe close your eyes and see if you can hear your heart beat. Maybe notice the space -- and the time -- between the beats of your own heart.
There are lots of ways to talk about finding space, like “zooming out” and “getting some perspective” and “taking a step back.”
Those all make for good imagery around this theme.
But what I want to say most, that isn’t normally mentioned in conversations around “getting some perspective,” is about the freedom you can feel.
Freedom in terms of all the ways any one situation can go. Freedom in terms of the choice you make, of one response rather than another. Freedom in terms of seeing possibilities that weren’t apparent before.
This week, look for the freedom that’s in the space.
I hope it helps.
What We're Reading:
There's no shortage of wine stories and media inundating our IN Boxes. Here's what has piqued our interest this week.
“For the second year in a row, Finland took the number one spot in the annual survey released on Wednesday that ranks countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.”
Here’s How Star Chef Marcus Samuelsson Stays Healthy – FoodandWine.com
"Balancing ‘healthy’ with a busy life is actually something you have to work at,” Samuelsson said. Here are a few ways Samuelsson has found balance that you can incorporate in your own life.
Meet the Tribe!
Our community is only as strong as the company we keep, and here we meet some of the folks who make our profession so dynamic.
Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen
The World Wine Guys - Writers, Authors, Presenters, and Hosts (USA)
Years In Industry:
Officially, 10—since our first big article put us on the wine writing map. As we ramped up our magazine, book writing, and speaking careers, we were each transitioning out of other vocations. A lot of people in the industry don’t know that Jeff is a chiropractor and Mike is a registered nurse, and that we both worked two full time jobs as our involvement in wine took off.
Our Biggest Challenge to Wellness:
Travel, a jam-packed schedule, and big dinners with lots of good wine. Between being on the road so much and having business contacts all over the world, emails and messages fly in pretty much around the clock. It’s hard to put the phone down and stop checking email and social media at a certain time, and it’s even harder to not jump back into it the moment we wake up. There is always just one more thing to do and another messaging app to check. And let’s not forget writing deadlines and wrapping things up before we’re out of pocket for a day or two while flying to Asia.
How We Keep It Together To Stay Well:
Exercise and meditation. We have been practicing transcendental meditation for about 10 years, and we get to the gym 4 or 5 days per week. We also ride bicycles and hike or walk as much as possible whether we are home or traveling. We know that dinners and lunches are going to be huge, wine-filled affairs, so we start the day with tea, yogurt, and fruit.
We also divide and conquer—we split our work load according to who is best at a particular task. Most important, we both love sleep and are really good at it. Sleep is vastly underrated by most people as a pillar of fitness and health.
Let’s Meet Up!
As work life has it, we are traveling over the next few months and would love to see you.
Guest Lecturer and Presenter at “Innovation Talks” at the University of Bologna, April 2 to 4 (Cathy)
Judge at Concours Mondial de Bruxelles Competition in Aigle, Switzerland, May 2 to 5 (Cathy)
Presenter at the London Wine Fair, May 20 to 22 (Cathy)
Presenter at the CDO Executive Summit, in Atlanta June 26 (Cathy)
Attendee at Fine Minds 4 Fine Wines in Bordeaux, July 4 to 6 (Cathy)