Value – Part I

This topic began as “time” and though I had no intention of even attempting to cover such a vast topic; it’s been on my mind a lot lately and I figured I could share my thoughts and perhaps gain some of yours in return. However, as I’ve been writing the consequent parts, this topic has shifted slightly from time to ‘value’, which encompasses even more.

I’ve been noticing a lot in these past couple of weeks the value I place on my time. I’m reading about all these retreats where people have activities like learning a bit of self-massage, doing a little yoga and/or meditating. If you want to travel to a specific country and have someone guide you through those activities as a retreat; that’s great. However, something I’ve been fighting is the knowledge I could do that myself.

I have a book on self-massage, I can do some basic yoga moves, I have a spare 30 minutes a day I could use to read in. How many people who have been on a retreat use the things they’ve learnt once they return?

When I read about all these things, I think “I could do that now” and yet; something holds me back. When a great song comes on and I feel that instinct to get up and dance I feel wonderful. But if I try to make dancing a weekly activity; even when I’m in the mood to dance; I can’t bring myself to “waste” that time.

I’ve had some issues defining my word-of-the-year; articulating what I mean by focus. One meaning is to “not waste time”.

Waste [weyst] –verb (used with object)

1. to consume, spend, or employ uselessly or without adequate return; use to no avail or profit; squander

2. to fail or neglect to use

3. to destroy, devastate, or ruin

4. to be consumed, spent, or employed uselessly or without giving full value or being fully utilized or appreciated

The words that hit me were ‘without adequate return’ and “neglect to use”. Surely sitting on twitter, facebook, gazing hatefully at my unfinished essay and getting myself in a panic are neglecting time’s true purpose? Don’t I love the feeling as I dance; when I’ve been dancing for a couple of minutes more than I love the feeling of any of the other ways I use my time?

Can you imagine spending even fifteen minutes a day doing something that makes you feel accomplished, happy and exhausted from the smiles? I know I sleep better when I’ve had a good dance before bed. How much time do you waste, frittering and splattering around when you could be feeling joyous? Surely it’s an insult to spend time on things that you don’t like nor matter to you.

Obviously we all have to do things we don’t like; but could you cut half an hour of your TV time to play a board game with your child; to ring an old friend and have a laugh?

What about sitting up in your seat and breathing? I’ll wait. Sit or stand with your back straight; if you have a drink, just sip it with some mindfulness. How often do you actually let yourself breathe so that your lungs fill? Could you perhaps put a reminder on your calendar, set a phone alarm or email reminder to take a whole minute to just breathe in the air, take in the sights and bring the warmth and energy of your drink into you?

It can be done anywhere – in an office or at home, while walking across a street you can focus on keeping your back straight, head up and breathe in the scents. If you’ve no window by your desk, look at the colour of the wall or find a picture – put a photo of an exotic place on your desk, change your desktop background or screensaver if you’re allowed and take the time to refresh yourself.

How do you utilise your time? What are the most valuable items in your life? How do you define waste?



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