Monday, November 5, 2012

Cancellations as "Found" Time, a post by Nancy L. Agneberg

Recently, plans have changed. Dates and appointments have been cancelled. An evening out with friends. A phone date. A lunch date. A visit from a friend. A visit to a friend. Even an appointment for a showing of our house was cancelled. Most of these items on my calendar have been rescheduled (Not the house showing appointment, however. Rats!), and most are just examples of life happening. Understandable and acceptable. Rarely do I worry about possible motivations underlying the change. Most of the time I don't view the cancellation as a criticism or disinterest, but instead, just one of those things. 
The Gift of Found Time
     However, this bundle of recent cancellations does make me wonder why so many in a short period of time? Is the Universe trying to tell me something? A message to be more flexible? An opportunity to be present to challenges in others' lives? A chance to let go of some control? To breathe? 
    Over the years people in my life have heard me use the phrase "Found Time." When plans change that open up space I didn't expect to have, I think of that as "found time." Sometimes found time happens when I am in the waiting room of a doctor's office or waiting to get my hair cut or an airline flight has been cancelled or delayed. I amaze myself, frankly, in those situations that I don't feel irritated or frustrated. Most of the time I am able to shrug my shoulders and exhibit patience.  I always have a book or magazine with me, so I relax easily into my found time with little or no  resentment. Sometimes, for example yesterday when the house showing scheduled for the mid afternoon was cancelled with a phone call first thing in the morning, I suddenly felt I had a whole day ahead of me; a day that did not need to include vacuuming and dusting. And a day that even included an extra hour, thanks to the clocks being set back, Talk about Found Time! 
How to Use Found Time
     I recognize that the experience of found time is a chance to listen to my heart. What is it I most want to do right now? My immediate inclination when there is a sudden appearance of found time is to fill it. Do errands I didn't think I would have time for. Do the next thing on the list of tasks for the week. Get a jump on something I planned to do tomorrow. Be productive. Accomplish something. Finish something I thought I would have to set aside. 
But sometimes I hear and respond to another message in the sudden appearance of found time. "Nancy, put your feet up. Sit. Relax. Enjoy time to read or write in your journal or take a walk. Slow down and listen to your heart." 
     Because there have been so many instances of "found time" lately, I have to wonder if instead of being asked to consider only my use of the immediate time, although that is a gift in itself,  am I being prodded to reflect on the bigger picture? How is it I want to be in the time I have left here on earth? How is it I am supposed to use my time? What is my purpose for this stage of my life? My call? I must admit I am struggling with that a bit these days, sitting in the midst of transition, a transition that feels a bit stuck to me. 
A New Intention 
     Therefore, now seems like a good time for a new intention; an intention that will not only help me respond to unexpected moments of found time, but will be a reminder to live in the present, for I believe it is in the present where we are given hints about the life we are meant to live
     My new intention:
For the next two months I will live fully in this house and in this holiday time of family and friends. I will honor requests for showings, but will treat them as a bonus and not as expected.
     As a sign of living fully here and now in this house, I moved my laptop back to the room on the lower level I have used as my office. Some potential buyers have not been able to imagine how to use this space, so I have "staged" it to look more like a family room. Many of my spirituality books, however, are still on the shelves, along with board games for family fun. This is where I feel most inspired to write and where I need to be. Here I can better fulfill my intention and find the time to write and study and pray. Here I can live in Found Time.
Reflection Questions
     How do you use "found time"? How do you respond when plans are cancelled? 
     What new intention is asking to be acknowledged in your life?

One last thing: Here in Wisconsin we continue to have lovely fall weather, although the temperatures are a bit cooler. These are "found" days. 

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