Your Knee, My Lack of Patience + Einstein


If you were to stare at your knee for the next minute, it would probably feel like an hour.

In that same minute, if you were to watch your favorite TV show, you would wonder where the time went and be left wanting more.

And yet, as measured by a clock, those sixty seconds are the same in each scenario. Well, at least in the clock’s point of view.

And, yes, the clock has a point of view because it arbitrates time only in so far as each of us do, which is to say relatively (which is why the best referee for one clock is another clock). This is explained by the Twin Paradox. Super-simply: one twin travels at high speed to a distant star and then returns to Earth. The other twin remains on Earth. Relativity dictates that when the traveling twin returns, he is younger than his brother. Why? Special relativity says that an observed clock, traveling at a high speed past an observer, appears to run more slowly.

Einstein strikes again!

His theory of special relativity says that your perception of time rules the roost. Which lends credence to our societal concept of “having” time and, conversely, “running out of town” or, my favorite, “I don’t have enough time.”

Wherever you’re at, relativity rules the horological world, so it means that everyone’s sense of time is equally valid. But this does not necessarily mean that they operate independently. Which is why you want something done, like yesterday, but it’s just. not. happening.

For better and for worse, you can’t control other peoples’ interaction with time…just like they can’t control yours or anyone else’s in their lives…and so-on-and-so-forth. Which is why, then, when your power goes down (hello Noreaster) and you call the power company, they tell you that their ability to restore power depends on town officials, who tell you that it depends on this one guy who is out of town, but his second-in-command is also MIA because his car had a tree fall on it, and the repair shop is currently busier than usual…

… and so everything ultimately relies on a bunch of peoples’ time.

Moral of the story: stop trying to control time (and driving yourself, and likely those close to you, nuts in the process). ‘Cause everything has its own time. Even when people aren’t involved.

To wit: Want to do a headstand asap in yoga class? Well, try verbally compelling your shoulder muscles to strengthen post-haste because it’s been 4 months already, and you want to stand on your head. Your muscles don’t care/understand words. They understand/respond to movement…with their own, fibrous timeframe for strengthening and stretching, whether or not it operates in accordance with your mind’s. And if you physically force your fibers to care, i.e. enter the pose whether or not they’re ready, you will likely incur musculoskeletal strain.  And then, in the best case scenario, you will need to relax in an Epsom salt bath, which will take its precious time to warm…plus more time for the Mg salts to work…


The point being: You can’t force time. But you can shift your perception of it.

Enter: patience.

[ Momentary pause for practice;) ]

The kicker: To allow things/headstands/baths to occur on their own time requires trust that a) processes are happening even if you can’t see them at-work, and b) this greater timing will work out just fine, even if it occurs differently than you expect. You know, like the many times in your life when you’ve looked back and thought, “Well, XYZ didn’t work out as I had planned but if it hadn’t of worked out this way, I wouldn’t have experienced A, met B, or done C.”

So if all’s well that ends well…well, you’re gonna have to wait to the ‘end.’ Which requires patience.

I appreciate how hella hard this is. Patience is my unicorn, too. As I’m figuring it out day-by-day, too, here’s my best takeaway: Compassion. For you, me, him, her, even folks you don’t know. ‘Cause you don’t know what circumstances in Jane’s life are leading to whatever is currently frustrating you. And these circumstances likely aren’t even directly related to you, nor intended to thwart or frustrate you.

So corpse-pose it. Seriously. Put it in your e-calendar (or, in my case, my beloved Danielle LaPorte planner) right now. Because prioritizing lying-like-broccoli for 5-minutes – the same way you prioritize the rest of your to-do’s – shows yourself/your to-do’s/everything you’re waiting on/etc compassion. Because you’re loosening your (self-created) grip on time … and allowing for life to occur.

And ‘allowing’ cultivates patience.

So allow these 5-minutes (or more) to happen by:


Closing your office/bedroom door

  • Turning off your cell phone ringer and setting a timer

  • Lying down with your legs and arms extended, eyes closed, palms facing up.

Before reading this email, you probably didn’t plan on a spontaneous savasana. But now you’re considering it. And, once you allow for it, you might even think, it’s about time 😉