Episode 8

Welcome to Minding Your Mind, a weekly show for those looking for new thinking about old knowledge in the areas of Time, Living, Success, Health, Love, and Happiness.

In episode 7 I talked about Happiness, what it is and how you know you are.

Today I want to talk about how numbers are used to categorize our lives…, the myth that is Time management, and the real value in managing our life energy.

 It’s time for a shift in perspective.

Hello, I am William Garcia, Philosopher and author of the book titled Now O’ Clock…Being Mindful, it Always is.

As it relates to Life and living today…, numbers play a role it never had… Its uses are more sophisticated in terms of how we keep track of and understand nature, create order, sequence, plans…, and of course…, how we manage our lives.

However…, keeping track of Time and money seem to be one of the Beast’s primary applications. I already introduced you to it. You remember the Beast, right? If you don’t, you can reacquaint yourself or get to know it in episode 2.

Here now…, numbers only give us the illusion that we are in control, and my concern is about the focus we place on enumerated Time…, 9 o’clock, for example.

If you have listened to all my talks so far…, I am sure we can agree that Life is a finite experience…, and that Time, is not.

In my mind, it is the basis of what I callThe Natural Equation” (TNE): L minus T, equals D. Life minus Time, equals Death, Timelessness or…, Nothingness.

To complicate matters, we are driven by the clock and the calendar in trying to keep up with the pace of the times. It almost seems we can’t help it. Statements like, “We are running out of Time”, or “Time is up”, ignore the fact that Time is infinite and that what we are “running out of”, and “what is up”, is Life…, pure and simple.

Time is independent of life…, regardless.  It is why I continue to suggest that the focus should be on our energies, thoughts, and aspirations as we live…, and not so much on measuring or keeping track of Time.

But there is a balance to be found between the two, and I think you know that. You just have to set out to find your own. If you were not aware that there is a balance to be found…, now you know, and now, is always a good time to set out to find it.

While you do…, remember…, finding is reserved for searchers.

Today…, it is normal to live in terms of days. I admit, I too used to think in terms of living one day at a time. But I realized there may be countless moments in a day, and I can only be alive for one Moment at a time.

Furthermore…, being alive has nothing to do with what time of the day it is, or what day it is. But, to some degree, we have been taught and conditioned to focus more on Time and Numbers than on life and living.

I think of it as a mechanism of the social construct to keep us ducks in a row.

Let’s start with some of the numbers used to categorize stages of our lives. At age five, we start school. At 13, we are teenagers. At age 16, in many states, we can get a driver’s license. At 18, we have the right to vote. At 21, we can drink alcohol legally. At 55 we qualify for some senior citizen discounts. At 62, we can collect social security benefits. At 65, we qualify for Medicare. Sometime after we run out of Life…, we die.

These stages of our lives come with their own mindset even as we are preoccupied with marking Time…, and we do so having absolutely no control of it.

Granted, there are very practical reasons for tracking Time, the numbers we use to measure it, and on planning.

Time aside for now, and talking about planning, I know two people who lived their lives according to plans they had in mind and were successful at executing them. However, they were less than thrilled with how their lives unfolded at the end of their journey.

I will call them Mr. Juan Massa and my Lady friend.

Theirs are stories about the use of Numbers, Energy and Life. My Lady friend had a plan to work her pants off, make as much money as she could, save and invest until she turned 50. Then, she would retire and start living her life. Her number was 50. She was all in with her plan and worked it tirelessly, and almost obsessively.

The idea that doing any one thing for 30 years to achieve a specific goal…, and that it could consume you…, evidently, had not crossed her mind.

It seemed to me that she saw no difference between having “work” habits and having a “habit” of working. I won’t go so far as to call her a workaholic. But she worked a lot and I mean…, a lot.  Working as she did for 30 years had become her lifestyle. Yes, 30 was one of her other numbers.

Then the time had come when my Lady friend wanted some style in her life…, but the only style she knew, and had become accustomed to…, was Work.

She used numbers to mark her progress, she put off countless Lifetimes and expended tons of energy for the promise of free time and money to spend in the future.

Ironically…, free time had become foreign to her. She now had to get used to it… Imagine that. What would you do with years of free time? I don’t know what I would do. That’s a lot of time to me and, in Life…, nothing is free.

Anyway, my lady friend did some traveling. She visited family and friends. But at times, she worried that her visits were an inconvenience.

You see…, her family and friends did not plan their lives as she did. Most of them lived modest lives…, and some, from paycheck to paycheck. They were just as busy with their daily and hurried lives. Free time to them mostly amounted to days off, weekends, and holidays.

At some point, my Lady friend realized two things: She was still relatively young, and it would not take her another 20 years to do all the things she wanted to do. So…, she went back to what she knew and had become very accustomed to; her habit of working.

The way I see it…, a balanced life was not part of her plan. Fortunately for her though, and at her age…, such a plan could still be implemented…, and a balanced life realized.

Mr. Juan Massa’s story was similar yet different. When I first met him, I was a civil deputy sheriff with the Miami Dade Police Department. My duty was to locate people to serve them with civil or criminal legal process. So…, from Time to Time, over a period of about 5 years…, I would stop at Mr. Massa’s restaurant for a shot of Cuban coffee, and we became acquainted. He was a very likeable and hardworking man and…, because I never knew his name, is why I refer to him here as Juan Massa, which is Spanish for John Doe.

When I went there, he always treated me as a special customer. But I soon realized I was not special at all. He was just that way and treated all his customers with a special care and concern.

At the time, he may have been about 55 years old, even though he looked much older. He worked 6 days a week, 12 to 16 hours a day. He looked like “Hard Work.”

I’ve been told the restaurant business can be brutal.

Not too long after, I was reassigned to a different work zone and did not go back there for coffee again.

One day, I had to locate a person living in a high-rise condominium penthouse. I rang the doorbell, and it was the owner of the coffee shop, Mr. Massa.

We instantly recognized each other. He greeted me with a bear hug and invited me in. It had been a few years since I last saw him.

The apartment was fabulous. It was pure luxury…, marbled floors, chandeliers, leather and mahogany furniture, and an ocean view that caressed the eyes. It was like a dream or something out of a magazine.

I turned my attention back to him and noticed the obvious. Time and hard work had sculpted him into what looked like hard work done long and wrong. He had aged considerably, and moved slowly and warily, as though in pain. I could see it in his face.

Either he knew the purpose of my visit or, it didn’t matter. What mattered to him was to have me sit down for an old-fashioned chat. He said…, “Look at me. I am rich and now live in the lap of luxury. I worked extremely hard most of my life to get to where I am today. But the long and hard hours, days, months, and years of work…, now sit on my lap. I struggle to get up once I sit down, and I take all kind of medications. Often, when I leave my luxurious home, it is to visit my doctor. My wife is no better off than I am. She has always been my right hand. Now she is just right there…, sick in bed”.

I question those who say that hard work never killed anyone. Ask my Lady friend and Juan Massa, just how they feel about it.

Obviously, hard work did not kill them in the physical sense. The 30 years trapped my Lady friend between work habits and a habit of working. Juan Massa and his wife were physically distressed and mentally fatigued. They both left out one of the most important factors to any long-term plan…, a balanced life. I believe it would have made a difference in the quality of their lives.

Now…, don’t get me wrong. I am not against planning for a better life. In fact, we should. Neither am I against hard work to realize whatever you believe the American dream to be.

I encourage Success in the pursuit of goals. What I am against however…, isall hard work and little or no play today. It is all about balance, my friends.

I strongly encourage you to have dreams and plans for getting from here to there. However, I encourage you to do so being mindful that the essential ingredient is Time…, something we can’t control, and balance…, something we can.

Stating the obvious, your plans and dreams are not a Present reality. They exist only in your mind as Thoughts. Being here and in the now and working your plan, is where and what you should be doing if you are to increase the probability that your dream will come true.

A quote titled, Work Your Plan.

 “All plans must die if dreams are to live. But for plans to die, they must be executed. Work your plans accordingly, but persistently and patiently”.

“You have a long life ahead of you”. I’m almost sure you have heard this said before. However, you are here and have a lot of living to do…, and now is the only time you can.

The same is true about executing your plans. Somewhere in the intersection between working your plans and enjoying your present living moments…, there is balance to be found. Find it… Live it.

Of course, trying to control anxieties and impatience about your future could be challenging…, but we must not sacrifice our own presence in the Now. We must be patient and confident that soon enough our dream will become our present “Living” reality.

Earlier, I mentioned the use of numbers to manage our lives during the inevitable passage of time. So.., let’s start with a definition. The Encarta English dictionary defines Management as…, the organizing, directing, handling, or controlling of. The same dictionary defines Time as a period or moment.

Accordingly, and being consistent with my thoughts about Life in Time…, Time “management” is not an idea I should take literally. But for many years I did…, and it drove me crazy.

I later realized that what drove me insane was the marriage between Numbers and Letters; Numbers used to mark Time and Letters combined to create words used to name certain stages in our lives. I’ll explain in a moment.

Anyway, I’ve come to see the concept of Time “management” as nothing more than an illusion; it cannot be done… It is simply impossible. The best I can say about it is…, that it may serve as a practical mental exercise. Going forward…, we should be aware and mindful that it may be just that.

Now I see that it is numbers in a 24/7 world construct that drove me crazy.

Now there is a “Time” for everything and a corresponding number to mark the stages we live through. I gave this example before, but here I expand. At 13, we are teenagers; at 16, we can legally drive; at 18, we have the right to vote; at 21, we can drink alcohol legally.

By this time, we are building a career and a Life. It is time to study/work long hours, usually hurriedly and running late, hectic days, drawn out weeks and years, chasing goals and dollars while we’re still “young.”

Later in life many begin to do what only aging folks do…, defy Time saying things like, “age is just a number” and “it is not how old you are but how young you feel” and, “I do not look my age”, and on and on.

As “seniors,” we find ourselves on the descent of our mountain of Life with our health care belts fastened…, the preoccupation du jour, and with feet heavy on brakes that don’t work. The reality of being a certain age impact us and Time “management” is ejected.

Most of us call this, “retirement” age.

It is a time when our mortality comes to focus and when we start doing what we should have been doing all along: managing our energy…, something we always had control over, but surrendered it to our preoccupation with Numbers and the illusion of Time management.

Nevertheless…, numbers will always be useful in our lives and in some cases, they save lives. For example, it is one thing to say that hurricane “Wind Blow” will make landfall in the next few days, as opposed to saying that it will land in 72 hours or taking prescription medication every four hours for maximum efficacy.

When I started writing Now O’clock, numerical Time got my attention and my focus shifted. It became less about numerical Time and more on the supply of Life Energy I had, and still have.

Of course…, this doesn’t mean that I disregard numbers. No. They will always be useful. I still get things done by a Time they should or need to be.

The difference is that now, more than before…, I am mindful about how I use my energy, when, and for what.

I may always know how much Time there is. I will not always know how much energy I have left…, much less when I will run out of Life. This is why I am not so concerned with stepping on the brake of Life as a way to defy numerical Time. I can still step on the gas…, and as I do…, I set my cruise control and just live-along.

Here is something about numerical time that I find perplexing. It occurred to me that different states and countries have different “Time zones”. It should be apparent to you that this goes against everything I have been talking about so far.

For those who wonder about the different “Time zones”…, think about this for a second.

During the summer months, the assigned Time difference between…, let’s say, Miami and Arizona, are three hours. When it is three o’clock p.m. in Miami, it is twelve o’clock p.m. in Arizona.

However, the reality is that there is no Time difference when it comes to “Being” alive…, right? There are only numerical differences used to express Time, the same numbers invented by man; numbers better used for energy management…, not Time “management.”

Remember…, it is impossible, to “manage” Time.

Here is a quick mental exercise with a trick question at the end. Let’s say, it is 10 pm in the east as it is 7 pm in the west. There are “three hours” difference between “Time zones”. The phone rings, and friends out west announce the birth of their first child.

Now…, think about this before you answer. What time was the telephone connection made; the time you first heard the voice on the other end of the line…, 10 or 7?

Well…, do you have your answer? By now you should know there is only one correct answer. Because it is impossible for any single event to occur at two different Times at the same time.

What?… You’re waiting to hear my answer? Come on…, by now you should know it.

Now…, let’s beat the dead horse and ask a second question. Was the child born three hours in the past…, or vice versa…, three hours into the future…, neither right?

But, just for record keeping purposes…, and only for record keeping…, the child was born at seven o’ clock.

In life…, we first appear, live for some time, and then we literally disappear into the dustbin of the past… Time makes sure of it.

Oh! By the way…, here is another question you may have heard asked before: If numbers were never invented, how old would you be? You couldn’t know. There would be no language to express age. But thanks, or no thanks to letters and numbers…, we can.

Moving right along here…, let’s talk about energy. From the moment we are born, our life energy supply increased, but…, at a decreasing rate. Knowing this as fact…, what can we do to preserve or replenish this ever-depleting source of energy?

Well…, here is where energy management can play a beneficial role. However, and though worthwhile, it too has a rate decreasing effect. Still, you will be able to appreciate the benefits, more so…, in the long run.

Here is an energy management practice I showed my daughters when they were in high school. I started with what is the most important and highest use of energy in the body…, the burning of brain cells. I advised my daughters to manage their mental energy when doing homework by tackling the more difficult homework and or homework that is due first, leaving the others for later. It worked for them.

Imagine leaving the hard work for later in the night when your eye lids are heavy, your mind is fatigued, and the clock continues to tick. The quality and accuracy of your work will show.

Humans are not machines and even machines need downtime so we can manage their wear and tear. Like humans…, machines have a life span. The difference is that we can pretty much calculate the end time of a machine’s utility.

Humans on the other hand, can deteriorate or run out of Life at any moment…, regardless of age or health.

In the meantime…, try to be guided by…, and mindful that your life, as is its energy…, increases at a decreasing rate…, and that this basic economic postulate does not apply to Time.

But why would we want to even try to do the impossible? Have you ever heard a meteorologist talk about “Weather management”? If you did, you would think the meteorologist was crazy…, wouldn’t you? Of course, you would. Well…, we can no more “manage” Time than we can “manage” the weather.

Trying to do the impossible is a futile and a self-inflicted stress we don’t have to endure…. We really don’t.

Listen, we were born in Time, and when we die, it will simply be because we ran out of Life…, not Time. Remember, Time is irrespective of life, while there can be no Life without Time.

This is why I say…, forget Time management, per se. Try to shift your focus toward managing your diminishing and finite supply of energy, and use it according to what activities have priority, starting with your health…, for example… This you can do.

On the other hand, we can do none of what the dictionary says about Management with respect to Time. Time just is…, and it elapses as it does…, and there is no way to stop, pause, rewind, or fast forward it. There is just no organizing, directing, handling, or controlling…, Time.

By the way, here is something I find peculiar about our preoccupation with time. I know people who set their clocks and watches anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes ahead, and I am almost sure you do too. One of those people may be hiding in plain sight in your mirror.

Anyway…, I was told that it is a way to help them be on time or give them some extra Time, to be on time. This apparently works for them and, I guess, that is all that matters. To each his own Mind…, right?

Anyway…, this behavior may sound like Time “management” …, but of course, it can’t be. Ruling that out…, then what is it? It seems to me to be some sort of manipulation…, but manipulating what?

This was explained to me by a friend and my understanding is that he was always aware of the real numerical Time. Still, setting his clock or watch gave him a sense of control in terms of Time and his ability to get to and from on time, so that he felt less anxious.

If he had an appointment at 3:00 p.m., he would likely get there on time and not necessarily five to 30 minutes early. So…, why the manipulation?

To me…, and that’s just me…, having two different Times on my mind as it relates to a single event seems more stressful than “being” in real Time and arriving at the event in real Time; when it is 3:00 p.m., and my clock or watch reads 3:00 p.m.

In other words, it being 3:00 p.m. in real Time, while my clock or watch shows 3:05 or 3:30, seems to require the mindful suspension of one Time or the other. Yet, by all accounts, we’re usually on time in real Time…, so why the manipulation in the first place? Why play tricks on my own mind? Then again…, to each his own Mind.

I suspect the Beast has something to do with this kind of behavior. It already has us conditioned in so many ways and I can see its influence at work here. We’re constantly distracted, in a hurry, and running late.

This must stop. Start by slowing down. When you do, it becomes easier to focus, take control, set your own pace and find your own balance.

Who was it that said, “if it’s going to be, it’s up to me”? It doesn’t matter. The truth has no author. It really is…, on you.

 Meanwhile…, for me, there is something about real Time and the awareness of my Presence in it. It is the only Time I can be mindful about managing my energies and prioritizing my activities.

I realize there are practical reasons to keep track of Time with respect to what we need to do to live. But here is where the operative word, “Do”, apply.

We talk about “spending” Time…, when in reality…, it is Time that spends us all into Nothingness or into “Something” we know nothing about. We only know this expenditure as Death.

So…, yes… It’s good to know the time of the day, month, or year. But having such knowledge is of no use to us without first “Being” and then “Doing” something with our lives.

Either way, tomorrow is likely going to be here whether we “Do” or not “Do…, and what we don’t do today leaves us one day less to do it…, and that’s one day less forever.

A quote titled, Being. “Living Life to the fullest has more to do with having a present consciousness and appreciation of your own “Being”, than with doing anything. After all, you must first “Be” before you can “Do”.

Each one of us is in the raffle of Life and we cannot withdraw until our Life is played out. Therefore, we should be doing what we need or want to do as often and as best we can.

Of course, there will be Times when we may need to prioritize. However, when we do, we should determine if a priority could be best handled based on Energy as opposed to Time, or some balance between both.

It’s Now O’ Clock, time to find your own balance.

Next week in episode 9 I will talk about the days of the week, our gratitude for one, and not another, and how it should not make a difference to being alive.

Until then, browse around my website, nowoclock.live. There you will find more original, positive, inspirational and thought-provoking content you can mind your mind with. Share what you find there and spread any idea you agree is worth spreading.There is something there as there was here, for almost everyone. I hope there was for you.