I have a spooky relationship with time. For example, in my fledgling meditation practise, I sit with my eyes closed for ten minutes. (This is a workable amount of time for me, so I picked it.) I try to focus, breathe, clear the mind, etc, this part is not interesting. What is interesting is that when I open my eyes, exactly ten minutes has passed. Close eyes at 6:27? Open eyes at 6:37. Recently I started trying to add a few minutes to the practise time and I can totally do this too. If I say to myself that I will open my eyes again at thirteen minutes, thirteen minutes is what passes.
Is this a marketable skill? Not sure.
Lately I find it helpful to do things in ten minute intervals. The thing about having SIX HOURS OF FREE TIME is that it’s like when you walk out of jail into a WalMart. Or some more poetic simile. Like finding a lake of cold, clean water at the edge of a desert. Without the limits of a small person saying pay attention to me or I will riot, I have only my own limits. Resetting those limits has been a job, I tell you. If I check twitter, an hour goes by. If I start washing dishes, before you know it I’ve reorganized the frying pans and an hour has gone by. We’re down to four hours, people. You see how this goes. Things that should take an hour: eating lunch. Going for a run. Yoga practise plus shower. Things that should not: replying to one e-mail. Tweeting. Catching up on peoples’ lives on facebook.
I like to make myself delicious lunches and sometimes that means half an hour of preparation and half an hour to eat. That’s an hour well-spent. Yesterday I had tomato soup — homemade, leftover from the other night — with a red chili chopped up in it and stale tortilla chips sprinkled over top and then cheese on top of the tortilla chips. It was so delicious. It only took ten minutes to make but forty five minutes to eat because it was both hot and spicy. I burned my tongue and wept and blew my nose and felt quite cleansed and like a new person by the time the bowl was empty.
I set the stove timer for ten minutes and washed all the dishes I could find. When the time was up, I set it again and spent ten minutes online ordering hot lunch for the kids for the next four months. When that time was up, I wrote for ten minutes. When that time was up I had tea. Only forty minutes had passed and so much had been accomplished.
Why I can meditate for ten minutes exactly but not wash dishes for ten minutes exactly is a mystery I will try to solve another day.