Constable of France: Tut! I have the best armour of the world. Would it were day!
Lord Orleans: You have an excellent armour; but let my horse have his due.
Constable of France: It is the best horse of Europe.
Lord Orleans: Will it never be morning?
~ William Shakespeare, Henry V (III.vii.1-5)
It’s strange to me that after taking yoga regularly for a year and a half, at the beginning of every class, I have the exact same thought:
This is never going to be over.
My relationship with my yoga practice is a strange cocktail: three parts love to one part oy vey. I don’t dread yoga, exactly, but the classes are challenging and I am a nervy thing. I often feel anxious at the start of class. Of course, I get a little anxious when doing something far less taxing, like making a cheese sandwich, so it’s not surprising that I’m anxious before a 90 minute hot yoga class.
The lunacy of my thought is not lost on me. I’ve taken hundreds of yoga classes and all of them, every single one (even the two-hour one that turned into a three-hours because the teacher ran over) eventually was over.
Some activities and situations just feel like they stretch interminably before me. When I was running, I’d have the same thought. I’d step onto the trail and I’d think, I’ve barely even started. This will never be over. Running and waiting in airports or sitting open-mouthed in a dentist chair or waiting for lab results to come back. And waiting for the kids to get out of diapers (then to be able to tie their own shoes, pour their own juice, survive middle school, etc., etc.), too.
Like the night before the Battle of Agincourt in Henry V, all of these things seem like they will never be over. But then at some point they are and it doesn’t really seem like it took all that long after all.
Time, as I’ve written about before, is a funny thing. While I know intellectually that it is precisely-measured and that 90 minutes is 90 minutes, sure as shootin’ it feels like some 90 minutes are longer than others.
As regular Focus Pocus readers know, I am a Rushin’ Refugee. This month, I am exploring the possibility of breaking my habit of rushing and over-scheduling. One of the things I’m noticing is that sometimes I’m wishing for more time and sometimes, like when my yoga teacher says
“Good Afternoon!” and turns the overhead lights on, I’m wishing time would hurry itself right up.
Whether I’m wishing time would slow down so I can write more or I’m wishing time would speed the heck up so I can get through Camel Pose, my perspective is narrow and tight. I’m focused on my squinchy sliver of perspective and my eyebrows are gnarled together. When I’m all tight and bunchy, it’s helpful to relax my tight vision, open up, and see more. A wise friend calls it giving the situation a wider pasture.
My tight, squirrelly vision that wants more or less time misses the details of what’s happening. Relaxing my eyebrows and my breathing helps me notice more, take in more, feel more. A wider pasture allows me to savor.
In one of my more counter-intuitive-sounding moves, I’ve been savoring rushing. When I find myself hurrying to make it to the next thing, rather than scrunching up and barely breathing, I open my eyes and see what I notice – both internally (tummy tight, toes curled) and externally (honeysuckle blooming, red car on the side of the road). And when Kirk walks into the studio and I feel the knot of apprehension about the 90 minutes that stretch in front of me, I do the same thing: take a breath and notice what I notice.
I have the time I have.
We all do.
No telling how much or how little.
But time is more fluid and flexible than our clock-obsessed culture would admit. How I feel about whatever time I have is completely up to me.