Mastering Time

thumb_mastering_time_adjTime only goes by,

It does not change.

No matter how much you linger,

No matter how much you rush,

Every second has the same length.

– Sandra Hooghwinkel –


How I Master Time

I’m nearly always on time when I need to or want to. Yet I hardly ever rush or feel ‘time pressured’ anymore. I learned to deal with time in a way that serves me well, I guess.

This essay is my story of how I have learned to master Time. It is not about lists, nor about planning or Time Management… It is about some wise people I met, some coincidence and lots of practice. This is a story about understanding Time, about letting go, commitment and choice


No Control

My first revelation on my way to understanding time was many years ago, when I sat in the bus heading for the train station. I wanted to take a specific train and when I got on the bus, I still had enough time to catch it… That is to say, if the bus would not have got stuck in a traffic jam… But, alas! And from the moment we got in the jam I immediately started to feel agitated and hurried and I constantly looked at my watch to see if I would still be able to catch the train.

Till at some point, it struck me: as long as I was in the bus, there was nothing I could do to speed up the process. My rushing would not make the bus go any faster… I realized that I had no influence whatsoever on the timing of the bus or traffic, or so many other things for that matter. I realized that I had only partial control over Time in general and that I could better concentrate on the moments in which I have influence.

Surprisingly, the insight that I could not control the situation was quite a relief. And as a result I managed to surrender to the situation, whereupon I just sat and waited and meanwhile, enjoyed my view.

Although this experience did not get me anywhere any faster, this was the moment that I let go of the rushing in situations that I don’t have control over. Or at least, that was what I tried to do from then on. I won’t say that I suddenly changed from being a rushing control freak into this completely accepting human being. But from that moment on I started playing with this insight and started practicing ‘giving in to time’ whenever I had no influence on it anyway, like on a bus, when in line or when waiting for someone. And I still practice this every day…



Another fundamental lesson I learned about Time was from a haptotherapist I went to see. In one session she worked with me on finding my own rhythm. She asked me to rock myself, as if I were soothing myself, thus trying to find my own base rhythm. The rhythm I found that was actually soothing, was much slower than I started out with. She said, that “the rhythm that soothes us, is the rhythm we can best live by”. I looked at her and said: “But in this rhythm, I cannot do half as much as in my normal tempo.” She simply said to me: “So…, do less…”

Believe me, I was just as shocked as you probably are right now. But since the world did not fall apart when only hearing this, I thought I could give it a try. Not with important things of course! But with simple things, such as going to the bakery, cooking, brushing my teeth and riding my bike. I would find the rhythm, one that my body now easily recognized after having found it in the session, and tried to stick to that rhythm, or pulse, while performing the tasks. And although at first my tendency was to speed up, I experimented with this and got back to my base rhythm every time.

The effect was simply stunning. Not only did I feel much calmer while performing the tasks, I also got less tired and I had more energy left in the end. To deviate from one’s own rhythm, both to rushing or hesitating, is just really disconnecting and tiresome. Additionally what I found from this was that I felt more connected to what I was doing, thus giving me more focus and helping me to perform more efficiently.

Hence, I have found my way of ‘slowing down’ and of ‘doing less’ in this newly found rhythm, nowadays also with important tasks and activities. And although I accepted the idea of doing less – and really am ok with that, since this just is my rhythm – I feel that in the end I am able to do more, because I am less exhausted and make fewer mistakes. I do things with more attention, getting better quality and gaining more satisfaction for myself.

Which, by the way, does not mean that I never speed up or slow down anymore. In fact I know ‘quick’ very well and I know how to linger too, but these now come from accelerating or decelerating my own inner rhythm, like a crescendo or accelerando, instead of trying to catch up with something outside of me. Time has become something that lives inside of me, like an inner pulse, which has taught me the true meaning of being ‘in time’.



One other powerful tool I have to master Time is visualization of the phrasing bow of things I need to do. I learned an exercise on this in a Sufi center once and have been using it ever since. In this exercise, which I use for more important tasks and things I want to achieve in my life, I visualize the goal, as well as the process of getting there. I visualize the preparation, the build-up and the finishing, and I literally see these happen over time, ending on the date or time the task needs to be done or that I set for it. To close off the exercise, I take a deep breath in after the visualization, taking in all my intentions as an inspiration, and then slowly exhale, conveying my intentions to the universe, at the same time surrendering to the outcome being what it will be. As if stretching a bow and aiming an arrow, and once at the point of letting go, trusting that the aim will be reached.

This exercise needs practice and repetition to get the hang of it. Nonetheless it has become an important tool for me, not only to commit myself to things and place myself and my actions in Time, but also because it empowers a kind of universal support somehow, as if the visualization of the entire phrasing bow already makes it happen. As if a route is being carved in Time by the visualization. The closing off with a deep breath, with trust and surrender, are important to avoid making it about control, which is not what this exercise is about. It is really about committing and making yourself part of Time.

This so far is my story on how I came to master Time. The above insights and tools generally help me to be in time without rushing, which people who know me would probably endorse. Even so, the irony of it all is that whilst writing this essay, I was late for an appointment…

So much for theory. Let’s just keep practicing!



Time is an invisible flow that streams through us.

Embrace it, open yourself to it, and it will be part of you.

– Sandra Hooghwinkel –



© Sandra Hooghwinkel, Moving Technology

Netherlands, October 2013