Time is always on your side, just loose the watch

One of the most valuable lessons I've learned in recent years was from designer Isabel Toledo. This extraordinary fashion talent taught me that in order for us to truly honor time, we must look it from a different perspective. For Isabel, who weaves time into every piece she creates, as every designer should but few do, time is not kept in the traditional sense, a clock or a numerical count. Rather, time is an accumulation of experiences. I suppose it's very much like the classic pieces that she designs.

Isabel argues that if you allow it, time is on your side. However, the trick is that you have to stop watching the clock. This idea seems counter intuitive, especially in industrialized countries where time is money and counting these numbers is a national sport. But once you try this little experiment, as I have and obviously, as Isabel and I am sure many folks steeped in non Western traditions, you will be rewarded by time itself. And Isabel says you'll get something extra, like love. 

I just adore Isabel's concept of time. In her new memoir, "Roots of Style," she eloquently writes that in order for us to bloom into our full potential, we have to allow for something she calls free-range time. It's a state of mind when you allow yourself to fall in love with yourself, your surroundings, interests and really, your world. 

It's a period when you actively cultivate self respect and self knowledge. For what purpose you ask? To invest in yourself, your growth so that whatever you touch is completely and honestly you. So that you can trust your gut, because it is well nourished.

Yes, it's common knowledge that structured time kills creativity. The mystery of creating anything--from a delectable dish to a fine piece of furniture and anything in between--takes careful attention, focus and love. And time.

Time, even time as we know it the Western world, is loaded with the potential to stand still. And at some point in your life I am sure you have felt that magic. It comes in moments when you are so involved in what you are doing, so exactly focused, that you loose a sense of time and when you look back at the clock the first words out your mouth are, "where did the time go!"  Oh, you've heard the saying, "time flies when you are having fun."

Some call this state of timelessness  the zone. And those of us who are lucky to experience, an athlete, a chef, a mom looking into her baby's eyes, a blogger, singer or musician -- find that this space or state is filled with pixie dust because it really feels other worldly.

Time dissolves when you redefine it and it's not longer a square or linear, but like Isabel says, round. A perfect circle.

But, how to do free range when you have a full schedule and kids to bat? Can you schedule a free range hang? However contradictory it may seem, yes. But, you have to give up some things -- mainly your watch -- or iPhone or whatever has you attached to time as we know it.  You have to create the space so that you can delve into activities that harness the potential to be transcendent. And funny enough, all ordinary activities have the potential to be so. 

First though, your commitment to free ranging must be honest. Besides throwing out the watch, here are some sweet tips for you to try this weekend:

  • Allow your mind to free range. Give it a break from the structured ways in which you think. Allow your mind to take you to places of magic and fantasy. Steal moments within the day to daydream if you cannot go to a corner alone to do this.  

  • Allow your body to free range. We are always going to and from somewhere. What about taking a long walk in nature, without a purpose? Just to be. Map out a "time" so that you can lose yourself in time, and surrender to a quiet walk around a park, a trail, a beach, any place where there are not that many humans. 

  • Allow your body to float. Water is powerful and healing. Swim in a body of water and float, feel like a fish. 

  • Allow your hands to free range in dirt. Garden. Dirt is a living organism. Planting seeds, cultivating anything, herbs, veggies, fruits, is an extraordinary way to lose yourself in another concept of time and in another concept of living.  

  • Allow your eyes to free range. If you sit and watch birds, butterflies, bees eat they are not doing it from 12 to 1pm. So go ahead, go to a place and observe nature. Freaking awesome. And soothing too.

  • Allow your hands to cook, I mean really touch that food, make masa for tamales, squahs the avocados for your perfect guac, put those hands in it gurl!  Preparing food is an alchemical activity and therefore, I think, sacred. You're turning simple ingredients into potentially gourmet treats and in the process feeding those you love. A perfect cycle of the universe, right there, in your kitchen.   

Happy free ranging people.