Make Time For Now

Posted 09.19.2016

Last Friday afternoon I decided to retreat into my shell. Earlier in the day, I had a really disappointing business call in which I felt a lot of work that I had poured my heart and soul into was unappreciated. As I usually do when I’m in town, I headed to yoga class at the end of the day. What I don’t usually do when I get there is sit on my mat before class starts thumbing through articles on my iPhone. That’s what I was doing on Friday because I was in a bad, feel sorry for myself mood and decided to withdraw into my shell.

Then my friend Elana (name changed) sat down on the edge of the stage right in front of me. I put my phone down because I didn’t want to be rude, but I didn’t really feel like talking. She asked me how I was doing, I gave the typical, “Pretty good, how are you doing?” response. Her reply got my attention. “I’m worried about my kitty,” she said. When I asked what was wrong she told me about some health problems her cat was experiencing. I could see how concerned she was and asked some more questions. Elana talked about how since she and her husband don’t have kids, her two cats are like children to her. I said that, as a parent, I could understand that. No matter how old your kids are, you’re always concerned for them and want the best for them.

Then Elana asked me the names of my sons, Andy and Brad, and if I had a picture of them. I scrolled through my phone, landed on a picture of the two of them from last Christmas and handed it to her. She put her hand on her heart and exclaimed, “Oh, they’re both beautiful.” I thanked her and immediately thought that that was because of their mother and took the phone and flipped to a photo of the four of us that day. (It’s the one that accompanies this post.) “Look at the love in that picture,” Elana said. “It really touches my heart.”

I was so grateful for those moments Elana and I had before class. Grateful for a family that loves each other and grateful that I made a choice to listen to her and that Elana shifted my focus from a temporary hurt to a lasting source of joy. I was so glad that I put my phone down a few minutes earlier and really talked with her instead of the cursory, transient, “Pretty good, how are you?” exchange that would have seemed to be the path of least resistance when we greeted each other. It’s ironic to me that a simple effort not to be rude to a friend seemed to uplift both of us so much. It was a simple act that led to a little bit of transformation.

Most yoga classes end with a pose called savasana where you lay flat on your back with your eyes closed for a few minutes to process the class. As I laid there on Friday, the phrase, make time for now, came into my mind. That’s what I did when I put my phone down to talk with Elana. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was making time for now. The benefits of that were far more than I expected.

As this week begins, I’m going to be conscious of the opportunities to make time for now. I invite you to join me.